Town Hall

On 1st December 1807, Lord Minto the then Governor General of British India laid the foundation stone for Town Hall. Town Hall is one of the most important and Majestic Heritage buildings of Kolkata. It is located at Esplanade Row on the West in Kolkata. The structure was built in Doric Style of Architecture by Architect and Engineer Major-General John Garstin. It was completed in the year 1814. The main purpose of this two storied structure at the time was for receptions, Balls, Public meeting and gathering, and concerts. The steps at the entrance leads to a grand Portico in front and the carriages were given entry from the back under a lofty covered Portico. The top floor is boarded with teak and has a 30 feet high ceiling; this is where all the events took place at the time. The ground floor is 25 feet high and has a number of small rooms to it with a central marble hall. The base of the building is rectangular in shape and is supported by pillars. The Porticos give it a very distinct charm. Public lottery money of Rs. 700000 was raised in order to construct this structure. It held a very important position at the time of the British and also today. It was home to many government offices including Municipal Magistrates office, the West Bengal Public Service Commission, and the Municipal service commission. The main purpose of this Hall was to have a space for Europeans for social gatherings. A committee was formed in order to look after the administration of the hall. The committee had to follow specific rules and regulations laid out by the British Government. The major rule being, limited access to the hall by public. The Public was allowed on the ground floor but not on top. In order to go to the top floor, they had to get special permission from the committee. Post-Independence, due to regular interference in the Heritage Structure, a lot of harm was done to the structure. The Calcutta Municipality took over the structure in 1867, but the first renovation was only done in 1897. Due to the depleting condition of the structure it was even suggested that it be demolished. But after pressure from multiple famous personalities, the decision to restore the structure was made. The restoration began in 1990 and the town hall came back to life with additional features such as Kolkata Museum on the ground floor and the top floor is now used for lectures, exhibitions, Cultural functions, seminars, etc.


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