|Currency Building 1885 noisebreak.com/|
The land on which the Currency building stands now was once owned by the Calcutta Auction Company, but it was not doing financially well and finally closed around the middle of the 1860’s. Agra and Masterman’s Bank Ltd., a well-known British bank, took over the site and erected a beautiful building in 1867 in the Italian style. The London-based bank dropped out and they assumed the title of Agra Bank Ltd. At that point of time, the bank was plagued by many problems, including financial crunch. So, with no alternative available to get out of the mess, the bank sold the larger part of the premises facing Tank Square, to the Government. The Government was actually in search of a suitable building for the Currency Department, which was formed for issuing Government Currency notes for the first time, after the passing of the Paper Currency Act in 1861. The Government bought the building during 1868-1869 for Rs.1,073, 109. When Agra bank collapsed in 1900, the government purchased the adjacent properties owned by them and it became part of Currency building.
|Currency Building and renovations work,noisebreak.com/|
|currency store rooms.wall with Iron-sheetsnoisebreak.com/|
Atop the domes above the central hall there are "skylights“. The central courtyard could get enough sunlight through the skylights above; an ingenious way to keep the main area well-lit. The spacious second floor has similar configuration and the rooms, etc., have Italian marble flooring.
As it has happened to countless monuments of rich archaeological and historical significance across India from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, the currency building was in a poor state with damaged arches and domes. The entire structure was clothed in thick vegetation. In 1998 itself, the entire structure was declared as a heritage building and a monument of national importance, thus a protected place. Thanks to the efforts made by the ASI who intervened in 2002 at the right time. The Nethas had a plan to demolish this unique structure and fortunately, it was saved from total demolition.
The renovation is on, but it is going slow due to paucity of funds. In 2015 roughly 30% of the restoration work was completed. Plans were afoot to restore the building soon and convert it into a museum for rare archaeological sculptures. The restoration was undertaken using the old photos of the building - both interior and exterior and the aim was to retain the heritage value as much as thy can.