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Photographer's Note

This is the main façade of the Writers’ Buildings (WB), the administrative Headquarters of the State of West Bengal (WB).

‘Writers’ were junior clerks in East India Company. They used to stay in mud shanties within the boundary of the old Fort in Calcutta. In 1695, when the mud shanties were destroyed by severe thunderstorm, a new one-storied brick structure was erected in 1705. This building was named as Writers’ House.
As per requirement, the size started increasing in length and height. Within 100 years, it became a huge building with 19 sets of identical apartments and 57 sets of identical window-blocks and a flat roof.
But this was ‘Company’ style architecture. It stressed more on ‘utility’ rather than on ‘Form’.
So, when power of the British Crown increased in supervision of Indian affairs, the huge building, once classical in style, was transformed to create a Victorian impression - complete with terracotta dressings, dummy portico and pediment, with a Corinthian façade.
The red surface of exposed brick was part of this make over.
According to a renowned architect, this is a “Neo-Renaissance style of architecture, with French accents, such as the mansard roofs. This was a style quite common in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries. There are a number of buildings in other parts of Britain’s former empire that adopt this style - such as the town halls in Sydney and Bendigo (Australia) and Cape Town (South Africa), to name but a few”.

The current main building is 235 yards in breadth and encompasses nearly 3 acres of land.
It is interesting that the “Writers’ Buildings” has 12 addresses because the complex contains 12 four-storied buildings in 10 acres of land.

Very recently, the State Government has decided to refurbish this great heritage complex.
All the ministers (including the Chief Minister herself) and their secretariats have been shifted to other buildings.

Subhogen, Noel_Byrne, jhm, subhendu_bagchi, danos, mirosu, mcmtanyel has marked this note useful

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Alekhya Sundar (aleXundar) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 126 W: 0 N: 265] (1256)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2013-11-15
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Exposure: f/13.0, 1/45 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2013-12-25 7:27
Viewed: 648
Points: 32
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Additional Photos by Alekhya Sundar (aleXundar) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 126 W: 0 N: 265] (1256)
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