History of Kolkata Town Hall
Kolkata Town Hall has the Roman Doric style of architecture. It was built in the year 1813 by the architect and engineer Major General John Garstin (1756-1820) with a fund of 700,000 Rupees raised from a lottery to provide the Europeans with a place for social gatherings.
Architecture of Kolkata Town Hall
Kolkata Town Hall was made in Roman-Doric style in the year 1813. At first, the hall was placed under a committee, which allowed the public to use the hall under such terms and conditions as were fixed by the Government of India formed by the British Generals in India especially by the British East India Company. The public could visit the ground floor hall to see statues and large size portrait paintings but they were not allowed indiscriminate access to the upper storey. The applications for the use of the upper storey were to be made to the committee.
Management of Kolkata Town Hall
In 1867, Town Hall came under the management of the municipal authority, the Justices of Peace for the improvement of the town of Kolkata (later on the Calcutta Corporation). In the 1870s, at the time of the Chief Justice Richard Couch, when the present building of the High Court was being built, the Town Hall was temporarily used for judicial purposes. In1871, one of the Puisne Judges, John Paxton Norman was assassinated by a fanatic Muslim of the Wahabi sect, while coming down the steps of the Town Hall. In the year of 1897 the Town Hall had been renovated at a cost of about Rs.1.126 million.
Kolkata Town Hall in Modern India
Kolkata Town Hall witnesses the history of freedom struggle in India that ended in 1947. Before 1914, there are the plaques and statues of British personalities. After the First World War, almost all the marble statues except the statue of Ramanath Tagore have been shifted to Victoria Memorial. After the introduction of the Dyarchy in 1919, the Town Hall was used as the council chamber of the Bengal Legislative Council. The interior of the Hall was remodelled to suit the needs of the Council. The President of the Council had his chamber in the Town Hall. Subsequently the Legislative Council moved to its new building in 1931. During the Second World War, the government temporarily opened a Rationing Office in Town Hall.
Kolkata Town Hall in Post Independence Era
After Independence of India on 15th August 1947, Town Hall Building was largely neglected, during the early days of independence, during the 'Socialist Era' of early independence and seems to have been steadily consigned to collective oblivion. It was converted into the Municipal Magistrates Office. Other branches of the Corporation were accommodated within its premises. The Municipal Service Commission and the West Bengal Public Service Commission also occupied parts of the building. In 1975, all marble busts along with some portrait paintings were shifted to the Victoria Memorial Hall except the busts of Greenlaw and Palmer. The rest numbers of portrait paintings had also been shifted to Central Municipal Office building leaving two portrait paintings of Ryan and Nott at Town Hall. Gradually this magnificent building with rich heritage was sunk into oblivion. In 1998 by timely intervention of the Archaeological Survey India and the Calcutta High Court this heritage building was saved from further damage and destruction. And was later renovated to its former glory, and is now used for public gatherings and functions.
Library of Kolkata Town Hall
In 1999, Kolkata Municipal Corporation purchased the entire collection of rare books and journals on Kolkata from the noted Kolkata expert P. T. Nair to form a reference library. In 2004, the library was formally opened by the then Minister of Library Services, Nimai Mal in a small function presided over by the then Mayor Subrata Mukherjee. In 2007, the entire reference library of the Corporation has been amalgamated with the Town Hall Library. Now the library possesses about 12,000 books and journals and is visited by many scholars from different corners of India and abroad. There are also biographies, Calcutta Review, Modern Review, Bengal Past and Present, Journal of the Asiatic Society and Calcutta Municipal Gazette and other publications of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
Museum in Kolkata Town Hall
Kolkata Museum was set up in 1995 in Kolkata Town Hall, by a joint initiative of Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Government of West Bengal. This museum depicts the History of the City of Kolkata, and the adjoining metropolis. It was made by the Kolkata Museum society, members of which included renowned historians, musicologists and administrators of this metropolis. Kolkata Museum is a story-telling media exhibit on the history of the city of Kolkata, financed by Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, Department of Information & Culture of the Government of West Bengal and Ford Foundation.
Capital Cities of India
History of Kolkata
Kolkata, Indian City, West Bengal
Culture of Kolkata
Economy of Kolkata
West Bengal, Indian State
Churches of West Bengal
Churches in India
Monuments in Kolkata, West Bengal Monuments
Monuments of West Bengal
British Monuments in Kolkata
British Monuments in Delhi
British Monuments in India
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History of British Architecture in India
British Military Architecture in India
Art and Architecture during British Rule in India
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