Sunday, 22 April 2012

Town Hall- the first meeting place for the Britishers in Calcutta

                    The Town Hall 

Lord Minto was the Governor General of British India. He took the charge on 31st July 1807. A few months later, on 1st December 1807, the foundation stone of the Town Hall of Calcutta was laid just at the eastern side of the High Court.
The plaque in front of Town Hall 

The building was completed in 1813. The architect was Col. John Garstin, the then chief engineer of the city. 
The official address of this elegant structure is 4 Esplanade Row (west). Kolkata- 700001.  

Built in Roman- Doric style, the main front portion of the structure is standing on eight long brick pillars. The two storied building covers more than 1200 sq. meters. 

(taken in the year 1865)

(Above right- a copybook example of Roman- Doric architectural column, similar to the Town hall.)

There was no meeting place for the Britishers working in Calcutta at that time. So it was constructed as a gathering place for the Britishers in the city. Rupees seven lakhs was raised from lottery for the fund. A museum was built in the ground floor which was for the public and upper floor was restricted to the invitees only. 

  • 22nd March 1814- the building was opened to the public. 
  • Some cracks were noticed in 1815.
  • In 1818 it was noticed that some of the pillars in the upper floor were found to be defective. It was repaired and Col. Garstin, the architect had to bear the cost.
  • Later on, in 1867, the then Calcutta Municipal Corporation became the official custodian of Town Hall. 

View from the upper floor veranda 

The backyard of the town hall 

  • The building was renovated and opened to the public in 1998. 
  • In 2002, the museum named Kolkata Panorama opened to the public in a new look. 

The museum depicts the making of the city of Kolkata (earlier known as Calcutta) which tells the story in audio- visual format. The entire socio economical and cultural history of the city is covered here. 

The museum reamins open everyday from 11 in the morning till 5 in the evening. 

Tickets- Tuesday to Friday- Rs. 10.00 Saturday, Sunday and other holidays- Rs. 15.00
Closed on Holi, Diwali and on every Monday.

Adjacent to the main building of the Calcutta High Court. 
(Location of Town Hall) 

How to reach-
Around 20 minutes walk from the Chandni metro station. 
Around five minutes walk from Babughat.  

Old photos courtesy-