Warren Hastings (December 6, 1732 – August 22, 1818) was the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William, the trading post set up in Bengal by the East India Company. Although he came from the landed gentry, his family were impoverished following their support for Charles I. He joined the British East India Company in 1750 as a clerk and sailed out to India, reaching Calcutta in August 1750. There he built up a reputation for diligence and spent his free time learning about India and mastering Urdu and Persian. He went on to expand the embryonic Raj and make a fortune that allowed him to buy his family’s former seat Daylesford. In 1787, he was accused of corruption and impeached, but after a long trial, which focussed on the role of empire, he was eventually acquitted in 1795, although at great personal cost. Like many of the nearby roads this has links to the East India company who had a military college in Croydon. Adjoining Hastings Road is also named after him.
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