Thursday, 5 May 2016

Colonial building Metcalfe Hall, Kolkata



Metcalfe Hall,Kolkata. www.indiamike.com

Metcalfe Hall,Kolkata cholpalaiblog.wordpress.com
 Kolkata, was once the capital of  British India and has the unique distinction of having innumerable magnificent colonial buildings from the 18th to 20th Century that adorn this metropolis, which was once famous as a city of Palaces. Unfortunately, many of the historical buildings are not properly being maintained by the ASI under whose jurisdictions, the monuments come under.The central government in association with the state governments should preserve such historical buildings not only in West Bengal, but also in other parts of India  so that the future generation of Indians will appreciate our past history. Some of these impressive edifices face neglect and lack of care, perhaps, it  shows  the lethargic attitude of the authorities concerned. The Government of Kerala, in the last few years, has taken right steps to preserve the historical buildings and  houses (ex. Agraharam houses near Palakad city , Tamil Nadu Ex. Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran's  early childhood house near Palakad, etc.) in that state without affecting their heritage values. As for the monuments of Kolkata, they just form  part of the British legacy and  they are mute sentinels of glorious colonial era of bygone years.

Metcalfe Hall, named after Lord Metcalfe, who initiated for the freedom of press in colonial India, was built in  Greek  architecture and this building had been a  library from 1903, but before it, was the hall of conferences during the time of Reformation of Bengal. In all respects this historical building in Kolkata has close  similarity with the ancient buildings of Greece.
 

Metcalfe Hall is  declared a heritage building situated in Kolkata, at the junction of Strand Road and Hare Street in the heart of the city's business district. The architecture   also  has close bearing  with the British imperial architecture at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Built between 1840-1844,  as  designed by the city magistrate, C.K. Robinson, and named after  Sir. Charles 
T. Metcalfe, the Governor-General of India, in honor of  his efforts towards a free press,  the building stands majestically,  facing the Hooghly river on the West. The notable Greek order of the architecture was copied  from the Tower of the Winds in Athens. It was once considered  one of the time tested designs of durability and lightness.  As in the Greek buildings, Metcalfe Hall  is raised on a solid basement and thirty huge Corinthian pillars  that support a massive structure.  The main entrance from the West comprising a giant flight of stairs has been closed. The building is now accessed through the portico on the East.

This two-story building  is made of  five halls. It   housed the Calcutta Public Library collection, formed by Lord Metcalfe, then the Governor General, who transferred 4,675 volumes from the library of the College of Fort William.  Most of these volumes and donations of books  were from individuals that formed the core of the  library. The library  was   under the
private management. Dwarkanath Tagore was the first proprietor of Calcutta Public Library.
Metcalfe Hall,Kolkata. heritagestructurewb.blogspot.in
Once the building housed the Imperial Library and it was opened to the public on 30 January 1903. In 1923 the Imperial Library was shifted from this building to 6, Esplanade East.  At present the first floor
houses offices, exhibition galleries and a sales counter of the Archaeological Survey of India, whereas,  the ground floor houses the Asiatic Society's rare foreign journals and manuscripts section.
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metcalfe_Hall