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Writers Building, Howrah Overview

The Writers’ Building, located in the capital city of Kolkata, is a secretariat building of State Government of West Bengal. It is one of the many heritage buildings situated in Kolkata that brings out the essence of the British East India Company era. Stretched across Lal Dighi, a local water body in the B.B.D Bagh area of Kolkata, it has served as the office of Chief Minister of West Bengal up until 2013.

One gets to witness the impressive colonial architecture standing in the heart of the city. The glistering red structure has served as numerous offices, and there are rooms full of piles of paper. The Secretariat of West Bengal Government has shifted out of Writer’s Building to a new office known as Nabanna for temporary basis as Writers’ Building is under renovation currently. The lump-sum amount for the renovation project is INR 200 crores.

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Architecture of Writers Building

The architecture of Writers’ Building is one of the finest of the colonial era. Originally in the 18th century, it had a main block, a rotunda and five other blocks that stand till date and are considered as heritage structures.

Over the years, it got several extensions with additions of blocks, verandahs and corridors. The red brick structure is now a collection of 13 blocks in total that gives it a Greco-Roman look. Tall iron staircases, some of them that are still in use, are a sight of magnificence.

The exuberant statues add value to the colonial structure. The statue of Minerva stands atop at the centre of the pediment. Other statues include the Greek Gods and Goddesses notably Zeus, Hermes, Athena and Demeter.

Events at the Writers Building

Calcutta Walks organizes remarkable heritage walks around the city. One of them focuses on Dalhousie Square (B.B.D Bagh) that helps to witness and understand the rich and varied architectural styles of British Calcutta.

Timings: 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM in April – September
             8:00 AM – 11:00 AM in October – December

Price: INR 2000 per person
You can visit their official website for bookings and know more about the tour.

History Of Writers Building

Built-in the 18th century, this historic building served for the writers of British East India Company. The building gets its name from there. Writers’ Building was designed by Thomas Lyon in 1777, on the site where St Anne’s Church was demolished due to earthquake and Siraj-ud-Daulah’s attack on Calcutta.

As the first three-storeyed building in Calcutta, it has served as a site for students of Fort William College and Government College of Engineering and was occupied by East India Railway Company for a while.

One of the significant incidents that mark the importance of this heritage building happened on December 8th, 1930. Three Indians - Benoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta dressed in European outfits stormed into the Writers’ Building and shot down Colonel N.G. Simpson who was a brutal inspector-general of prisoners. The successful operation led the renaming of Dalhousie Square after the trio as B.B.D Bagh. You can easily locate the grand statues of the trio in front of the Writers’ Building pointing towards the building during the final moments of their mission.

How To Reach Writers Building

The Building is located in the heart of Kolkata city in the north of B.B.D Bagh area of Kolkata. It stretches across a water body, commonly known as Lal Dighi. You can reach the destination using local public transport like taxis, auto rickshaws or move around the city in its historic trams – the only city in India to have an operating tram system. The tram terminal for Writer’s Building is B.B.D Bagh.  

The nearest railway station is Howrah, and it is just 5 kms from the Writers’ Building. It takes about 20 mins to reach there from the station. Local transport from the station is readily available. The nearest airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata. The distance between the airport and the Writers’ Building is 17 kms.

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