Lalkuthi – The Northbrook Hall

screenshot_398Northbrook Hall is one of the oldest structures of Old Dhaka surviving proudly till now. Northbrook hall is situated at B.K. Das Road of Farashganj at Wiseghat on the Bank of Buriganga of Old Dhaka. The Northbrook hall is most popular to the Bangladeshis as Lalkuthi (Red Building) because of its prominent red colour.

In 1874 the Governor of India Thomas George Baring along with the Viceroy of India Lord Northbrook visited Dhaka. At that time the high ranking landlords and prestigious citizens decided to make this visit remarkable and each contributed 5000-10000 taka at 1879 to build a Town hall. In 1880 the Commissioner of Dhaka inaugurated the Northbrook hall. The personal orchestra of Nawab Abdul Ghani was brought at the inauguration ceremony to entertain the Commissioner of Dhaka and rest of the invited guests. On 8th February of 1882 a public library was added at the south-eastern side of the hall and named Northbrook Public Library. Later on a club house was also added to the building which is known as Johnson Hall. In 1950 it was started using as a telegram office and later as a women’s college.

The architecture of Northbrook Hall is a fusion of Indo, Mughal and Gothic renaissance architectural style. The domes at the top are decorated concerning about the Mughal style whereas the doors, windows and walls are ornated in core European style. There are four octagonal minars at the northern projection. The semi-circular horse shoe arches represents the main entrance through the north side.

Northbrook Hall is also a place of great importance because of the footsteps of some legendary persons. On 7th February,1926 the Noble laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore was honored here by Dhaka Municipality and the People’s Association. The department of Archaeology declared the Northbrook Hall as a protected heritage. Now the building is under the supervision of Dhaka City Corporation. Dhaka City Corporation and Department of Archaeology should take necessary steps to protect this heritage site in a much better way.

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