History

The Writers’ Building was established in the year 1777 by Thomas Lyon for the English East India Company, and currently, its location is at BBD Bagh Kolkata. In the year 1821, a verandah of 128 ft and Ionic columns each consists of 32 ft high were added in the first and second floors. From the year 1889 to 1906, making two new blocks along with iron staircases which are still in use was undertaken.

William Fredrick Willington himself sculpted some statues, that line the terrace of the building. The addition of these statues was done in the year 1883. Writer’s building acquired its total Greeco- Roman look with a portico in the central Bay and red exposed bricks. Besides, people still believe it to be the first three-storied building in the city and earlier at that sight was St. Anne’s Church, which was demolished.

Pre and Post-Independence

Moreover, the Writer’s Building has many connections to significant events. The building had a connection with all the ruling entities the City of Joy had. First of all, it housed the clerks of the English East India Company. Later it became a place for the writers of the British Raj.
Next, in the 19th century, when the British declared Kolkata as the capital of India, since then, the Writer’s started to serve as the Secretariat of the Government. Thirdly, the building witnessed the fire of protest for freedom struggle when the assassination of a British Official too place under its roof. Since then it has continued to serve the administration.
Besides, Writer’s building provides an ideal view of the city, and as it is now more than 263 years old, and hence, it has the essence of a monument.

Structure

When the writers of the English East India Company resided in this place, it more resembled a poor man’s house. However, after its governance changed and its conversion into Fort William College occurred, it became grand. Addition of new halls and libraries took place during this conversion of the center.

Moreover, people step into the building through a giant entrance. Statues of Binoy, Badal and Dinesh, the three heroes, stand near the entrance. It is also accompanied by the unique statue of Minerva – The Virgin Goddess. Besides, the building holds a few other statues and sculptures which find a place on the terrace. Among those, some figures are of really notable personalities like Zeus, Athena, Hermes and Demeter.

Besides, these changes done by the British Government took place during Queen Victoria’s rule. The building seemed like an ideal place for expansion and hence received an edifying makeover in French Renaissance style. The results were these statues. Furthermore, these statues contain within themselves the inscriptions of Justice, commerce, science and agriculture.

Changing Times

Writer’s building experienced changes in almost all the spheres. Also, the physical grandeur of the building kept changing with its changing rulers. Even the name of the locality changed from Tank square to Dalhousie street, and currently, the name of the place is BBD Bagh. Besides, all of these changes what remained constant was the building’s heritage and the name – The Writer’s Building, which is often shortened to the Writer’s. Besides, the building also went under renovation in the year 2013.

Trivia

• Fort William College trained the junior writers in Oriental Language.
• Also, the building remains closed on Sundays.
• In 1930, Binoy, Badal, and Dinesh entered the building dressed as Europeans to assassinate the Inspector General of Police Colonel N.S Simpson who brutally tortured the Indians in Jail.
• Unwilling to surrender, Binoy, Badal and Dinesh tried to kill themselves. Only Dinesh survived but only to be hanged on 7th of July 1932.
• Besides, the building served as the house of office of the Chief Minister of West Bengal.