Saturday, November 26, 2011

Heritage Of Kolkata - Clive House - Under Dilapidation

It is the picture of one of the oldest building of Kolkata - Clive
House, otherwise known as 'Barakothi', located at 91 Rastraguru
Avenue, Dum Dum erected before the seizure of Kolkata by
Siraj-ud-daullah. It was also known as 'Dum Dum House', once upon a
time - a well built house, standing on an artificial mound, surrounded
by a moat.
The history and origin of the building is obscured yet it is presumed
to be a Portuguese or
Dutch factory or godown of cotton and saltpeter. It is also presumed
that the building of the late Mughal period was sometimes owned by
Nawab Alivardi Khan and his grandson Nawab Siraj-ud-daullah and later
on passed to the hands of Lord Clive who used it as his country seat
(1757-60).
The present double-storyed brick built building with number of small
windows and supporting buttresses looks like a small fort. It was
originally single storyed and in subsequent period additions and
alterations have been done and converted to be a double-storyed
building. Possibly Lord Clive and many a English officers used this
house as Dum Dum was a sanatorium at that time.
There is a well built portico in this building wherefrom a pillared
hall could be approached. On the eastern side also there is a flight
of steps leading to the upper story of the building. Traces of one
arched opening is observed on the northern side also. Front upper
story has a veranda standing over pillars, though damaged provides a
grand look of the villa. Though portion of the building has been
occupied since long and premises thoroughly encroached giving clumsy
look the building has been protected by Archaeological Survey Of India
since 2004. Efforts are being made to evacuate the encroachers to
restore its pristine glory. The excavation on the mound on which it
stands has added a new vista to the history of Kolkata.
It is high time to expedite the work of conservation and protect it
from dilapidation. --
A. B.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Interesting piece by Asim. If the site is as old as some people think then time is of the utmost importance on this project. I have read reports that during excavations pottery, thought to be at least 2000yrs old, has been found in the mound that the house is built on. This alone makes the saving of this property vitally important.