Calcutta: A Glimpse of History in the House of the Former Governor General | Calcutta News

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KOLKATA: In a letter to Queen Victoria dated November 22, 1861, Lord Canning mentioned how his wife’s remains must have been buried in a “part of the Barrackpore Garden” because the cemeteries of Kolkata were “heinous in many ways. ”“ It is a beautiful place, looking at that expanse of the great river that she so loved to draw, shaded by the glare of the sun by tall trees and among the brilliant shrubs and flowers in which she had so many pleasure, “Lord Canning wrote.
A day before the 160th anniversary of Lady Canning’s death, members of the West Bengal Heritage Commission (WBHC), including Biswajit Matilal, Umapada Chatterjee and Basudeb Malik, visited the site of the former residence of the Governor General on the banks of the Hooghly to commemorate World Heritage Week. The original marble monument, which began to deteriorate under extreme weather conditions, was moved long ago to St. John’s Church in Calcutta. In Barrackpore is now a line with the inscription: “I will redeem them from the power of the grave / I will redeem them from death.” In the distance is an imposing sculpture of Lord Canning.

Installing a plaque on Sunday in the presence of author Amit Chaudhuri, entrepreneur Harsh Neotia and members of Purono Kolkatar Golpo, WBHC President Shuvaprasanna said: “Standing in front of the Minto fountain, the moon pavilion of honey or the arterial roots of the big banyan tree takes us back in time. In his company were the Consul General of France Didier Talpain, the Consulate General of Japan Nakamura Yutaka, the Deputy Head of Mission of the British High Commission Yemi Odanye, the Project Manager of the Danish Initiative Serampore Bente Wolff and the High Bangladesh Deputy Commissioner Toufique Hasan.

Heritage enthusiasts stroll the campus which features landscaped gardens, a park and an English-style bridge over a stream
The inscription on the plaque mentions that construction of this house began in 1801 during the time of Lord Wellesley. Designed by Captain Thomas Anbury, it was built as a weekend retreat for governors general and viceroys. The structure features elements of Renaissance architecture and is surrounded by landscaped gardens, a park, and an English-style bridge over a stream. In 1947, it came under the tutelage of the Police Training College, renamed the Swami Vivekananda State Police Academy. It has been partially transformed into a police hospital. The WBHC declared it a heritage site in 2013.

Visitors to the WWII CBI Theater
The view of the Ganges on the horizon, the Alpana road inside the Swami Vivekananda State Police Academy with drawings painted by the cops, the imposing structure of the former governor’s house Overall, the steps up to the first floor, light filtering into the veranda through blinds and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling – most visitors felt almost everything complemented each other to create a lasting impact.

Lady Canning’s grave. In the background is the sculpture of Lord Canning
Actress-turned-MP June Maliah was intrigued to see a photo of Netaji meeting Hitler at the CBI Theater in WWII. “I have always known the historical significance of Barrackpore due to the Sepoy Mutiny but it never occurred to me that such an oasis existed in its heart. I had never seen this photograph of Netaji before. The whole museum was very interesting. Along with my love of animals, I also enjoyed the canine squad show. ”

The plaque was installed on Sunday
A colony of houses, author Amit Chaudhuri stressed, must be preserved. “I am happy that WBHC preserves and is not hostile to a colonial heritage. There must be precise rules and those assigned to the restoration work must be careful with additions and modifications as the originals have extraordinary characteristics which cannot be replaced. The interior is as attractive, if not more so, than the exterior in reality, ”he said.

The collection of weapons on display at the museum
A museum in the basement of the building has a collection of weapons, including a ship cannon, the Smith Wesson revolver, the Webley Scott revolver, a single barrel shotgun, and a double barreled barrel. These weapons were kept unattended in a store at Swami Vivekananda State Police Academy. They were seized by British police in the first half of the 20th century from revolutionaries in Bengal and sent to the academy to be taken to safety after independence. Unfortunately, the documents are not yet available concerning the history of their seizures. Describing the exhibit as “interesting,” heritage architect Partha Ranjan Das said: “There are also improvised single-shot rifles. However, it is best to keep the walls and flooring of a building. heritage restored as close as possible to the original.

Construction of this house had started in 1801 during Lord Wellesley’s time
Art connoisseur Nandita Pal Chaudhuri praised the efforts of Kolkata CP Soumen Mitra, who was then the ADG of the police (training) and head of the Lat Bagan police training school and played a major role in the restaurant business. “This trip showed me how one man’s initiative can have such a large-scale impact on safeguarding our heritage. I wish there were more people like this, ”she said. Heritage enthusiast Sandip Nowlakha added, “This work inspired the idea of ​​Barrackpore’s first heritage festival on January 30.”


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