Located in Kolkata, India the Writers’ Building today houses the Chief Ministers office of West Bengal and has vast historic relevance.
Writers’ Building Information
History of Writers’ Building (Calcutta, India)
The Writers’ Building is also known as Mahakaran and was constructed from the year 1777 by Thomas Lyon who was the chief designer for this building.
The main purpose for the construction of such a building was to accommodate the writers of the British East India Company. The place got its name from the fact that it provided workplace and residence to the writers or other servants of the East India Company.
Today the Writers’ Building is the secretariat of the state government of West Bengal and also the main office of the Chief Minister of West Bengal. It is located in the capital city of Bengal, Kolkata which used to be the capital of India for most parts of the British Raj.
The giant entrance or the pediment is marked by the statue of Minerva on the top who was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, and wisdom. There are few notable statues on the top portion of the terrace.
Most mentionable statues on the terrace of Writers’ Building are that of Zeus, Hermes, Athena, and Demeter who have the inscription of Justice, Commerce, Science, and Agriculture christened below the statues.
The main facade of the building is red brick like in color and is a symbol if gothic and Roman architecture. The building is 150 meters long and is on the shore of the water body commonly called Lal Dighi in Kolkata.
Nearby there’s the Reserve bank of India building and the General Post Office of Kolkata. Today various departments of the West Bengal chief ministers’ regime are housed in the Writer’s Building.
Various incidences and important events of India’s struggle of Freedom took place here and the site is remembered for that purpose.
Also, read the article about Gateway of India
The Writers’ Building when proposed and built in the year 1777 was the first 3-storeyed building in Kolkata. The site previously had the St. Anne’s Church which was demolished.
The building after construction was given to the junior servants of the East India Company at a rate of Rs 31,700 at the current rate for 5 years; the amount was to be paid annually in two installments.
It looked like an English poor house when occupied by the writers. Later the Fort William College that was opened to train writers was shifted in this building and new halls and libraries were built.
Between 1876 and 1906, two new blocks were added giving the building its current Greco-Roman structure. The red brick like structure today looks beautiful and the previous blocks with the new blocks are heritage sites.
The statues planted on the terrace were sculpted by William Fredric Woodington. Today, as many as 6000 West Bengal government employees work from the Writers’ Building.
The place is also remembered for the assassination of the British Police Officer Col. N.S. Simpson by the trio of Benoy Basu, Badal Gupta, and Dinesh Gupta who seized the building for a while in 1930 hence marking an important event in the history of India’s quest for freedom from British.