Baptist Mission Press

Calcutta, India


In 1800, William Carey established a Mission Press in Serampore for the initial purpose of publishing scripture translations, and in May 1800, the first leaf of his Bengali New Testament was published in Serampore. 

In 1817, W. H. Pearce, who had trained at The Clarendon Press, Oxford, came to Serampore and associated himself with William Ward, the Serampore printer and colleague of William Carey and Joshua Marshman.  Pearce had gone to India as a Baptist Missionary Society missionary, and he remained in India until his death in 1840.  In 1818, the Baptist Mission Press opened in Calcutta, as Pearce sought to parallel Ward's work in Serampore.  After fifteen years of dual operation, the two presses joined together in a common purpose in 1837.

Between the work of the Serampore Press and the Baptist Mission Press in Calcutta, the complete Bible was printed in Bengali, Oriya, Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, and Chinese.  In addition to Bible translation, these two presses produced an enormous oeuvre of various genres.  Literature from some thirty languages of India, including Telugu from South India and Pushtu in Afghanistan, appeared in native fonts at these mission presses.  In addition to Bibles and religious literature, a wide range of subjects (i.e. science, education, and commerce) appeared from these presses, including examination papers for all the universities in India.  At its height, the Press employed over 300 persons.

In the early 1970s, the Baptist Missionary Society closed down the press and sold the land.  The metal type was melted down, which included the metal fonts that possibly had been created during the work of the Serampore Trio.  In 1975, what was left of the BMP appeared as follows (exterior; interior).  Currently, the former site of the Baptist Mission Press in Calcutta is the headquarters for both Hindi and English language newspapers, Amrita Bazaar Patrika.

Newspapers in the Indian languages first appeared from the Serampore Mission Press in 1818.  Also in 1818, Carey and his colleagues began publication of the Friend of India, an English newspaper that continued until 1875.  Eventually, Friend of India was incorporated in 1897 into Statesman and Friend of India, a contemporary daily newspaper in India.


The Center for Study of the Life and Work of William Carey, D.D. (1761-1834), gratefully acknowledges Ronald Ellis, Derby, England, United Kingdom, for his permission to post all of the images linked below which derive from the work of his father and uncle in Calcutta. 


Ronald Ellis is the son of Mr. Bernard Ellis (d. 1985), who was a Baptist Missionary Society missionary and superintendent of the Baptist Mission Press during the mid-twentieth century.  Norman Ellis preceded his brother Bernard as superintendent of the Baptist Mission Press.


Baptist Mission Press

(Photograph by Bernard Ellis)


Bernard Ellis's Notebook: Memories from the Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta, India


Ronald Ellis, Memories of the Baptist Mission Press


Ronald Ellis, Photographs and Images of Calcutta and the Baptist Mission Press, ca. 1975


Calcutta, India Showing the Location of the Baptist Mission Press and Serampore

(Line Drawing by Ronald Ellis; inset photos of Serampore College and the Baptist Mission Press)


Baptist Mission Press Site in Relation to Sites in Calcutta (Line Drawing and Site Identification by Ronald Ellis; photograph of the Baptist Mission Press by Bernard Ellis)


Calcutta, India, and Location of Baptist Mission Press (Inset of Photographs of Key Sites)


Baptist Mission Press, Selling Brochure

Designed and Set by Norman Ellis, Superintendent of the Baptist Mission Press, 1930s

Cover    Page 1    Page 2    Page 3    Page 4    Page 5    Page 6    Page 7    Page 8    Page 9   

Norman Ellis's Baptist Mission Press Illustration


Description of the Baptist Mission Press Illustration in Norman Ellis's Selling Brochure, by Ronald Ellis


Baptist Missionary Society Compound, Calcutta (Three Dimensional Line Drawing from 1966)


Field Secretary's House and Missionary Guest House on Baptist Mission Press Site


Baptist Mission Press Image (Three Dimensional Line Drawing and Key by Ronald Ellis)



Bernard Ellis, Superintendent of the Baptist Mission Press, retired in 1966.  All of the photographs below were his and date from the mid-1950s.


The Corner of Lower Circular Road and Elliott Road showing the BMP Book Shop on a Sunday Morning

("Lower Circular Road" has been renamed "Acharyya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road" or "Acharyya J. C. Bose Road")

Baptist Mission Press from Lower Circular Road showing the Book Shop to the left, the flats in the center

(Superintendent top right: Norman Ellis; Assistant Superintendent bottom right: Bernard Ellis; Works Manager top left: Len Hazleton).  At the end of the drive are the Office, Security Department, and Composing Room.  Behind the lawn and vegetable garden to the right is the Machine Room where the printing was done.

Bernard Ellis (father of Ronald Ellis), Assistant Superintendent with left, Nikhil Babu (Office Manager) and right, Bannerjee (Works Manager)

Norman Ellis (uncle of Ronald Ellis), Superintendent Baptist Mission Press

All the employees of Baptist Mission Press on the occasion of the retirement of Bernard Ellis, Superintendent in 1966

All the employees of Baptist Mission Press on the occasion of the retirement of Bernard Ellis, Superintendent in 1966  Freda Ellis is to the right, and Mr. Nullis and his wife are to the right of her.  The Baptist Missionary Society Field Secretary is to the left.

Typesetting on the Linotype machine

Typing copy on the Monotype machine

The Monotype setting machine

The Machine Department and garden

The Machine Department

The Finishing and Binding Department

The Finishing area in the Security Department

The printing rollers have to be continually cleaned and maintained in the Roller Shop

The final product is ready to sell in the Bookshop

Satisfied customers


Nepalese customers

The Calcutta way of delivering goods to the customer

Nikhil Babu, Office Manager (left) and Suresh Babu, Security Department Manager

Delivery of a new printing machine; Ink Roller Shop to the right and Machine Department to the left

The new machine unpacked in the Security Department

The new machine up and running

Delivery of paper with front gate in the distance and our dining room to the right

Delivering a small platen printing machine the Calcutta way

Elliott Road in the monsoon

The back of the Monotype Department is on the right with the end of the Composing Department and the flats above.

The BMP exterior with new style of lettering 

The copy reads:  "Typesetters, Binders & Publishers.  Baptist Mission Press.  Printers in Forty Languages"

The gate with a means of transport that could have been in use in Carey's day; Monsoon



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Created:    October 21, 2002        Updated:    December 10, 2003