The Great Eastern Hotel- "the jewel of the East"
The famous Sepoy Mutiny was still sixteen years to occur. Bahadur Shah Jafar was still the emperor of Mughal Dynasty. The East India Company was very much on their way rule the India. It was at this segment of time the great hotel was established in 1840- 41 by David Wilson at the 1-3 Old Court House Street close to the Tank Square in Calcutta. Initially it was named as Auckland Hotel but was just popular as locals were calling it as 'Wilson's Hotel'.
The above photograph was captured between 1850- 1870 & is preserved in Victoria & Alburt Museum.
George Eden, the 1st Earl of AucklandThe hotel was named after George Eden, the 1st Earl of Auckland who was the Governor General of India (1836- 1842). Actually David Wilson was a confectioner by profession and had a bakery at the site of the hotel at first. Later on, after opening the Hotel, the bakery was included and became an integral part of it. The breads and cakes of Great Eastern hotel won the taste buds of Calcutta and continued to do so for more than a century.
The above photograph was captured by Samuel Bourn in 1865
From the above photograph it is clear that by 1865, the building was already known as The Great Eastern Hotel & not as Auckland Hotel. Initially, it was opened with one hundred rooms.
In the 1860's, the company was renamed. Earlier it was D Wilson & Co and it became Great Eastern Hotel Wine & General Purveying Co.
In those days, people used to come directly from port. In those days, The Great Eastern Ship was very famous. David Wilson, felt that an identical name with the ship could be a success story for the hotel. An unique marketing strategy!