Writers' building (1777) - first colonial building in Calcutta

Pre-independen the facade, Writers building, Kolcata, 

The Writers' Building,Kolkata.urbanruminations.blogspot.com

The Writers' Building,  now  secretariat building of the State Government of West Bengal in India, is located in Kolkata, West Bengal's capital. It was the seat of  the office of the Chief Minister of West Bengal until 4 October, 2013. Lots of tourists come here to see this impressive first colonial building in the former capital of British Raj that has  Greco-Roman look with a  portico in the central bay and  the  statues sculpted by William Fredric Woodington (in 1883) that line the terrace.

Writers' building, Kolkata. theguardian.com

Kolkata. Writers'building. windhorsetours.com

Soon after setting their feet firmly in Bengal under the able leadership of Robert Clive following their victory at Plassey and later at Buxar, the British East India company was on an expansion  mode, acquiring more lands,  taking advantage of Indian rulers' disunity and utter lack of cooperation. The British  company. By 1777, EIC had a large private army and became a sort of de facto ruler with Calcutta being the main center of Indian operations. 

The Writers' Building, Kolkata.welcomenri.com

statues atop Writers' Building, Kolkata. en.wikipedia.org

needed a spacious building to carry  on  various administrative paper work and storage spaces  to keep their records safely. This first 3 - story building, using European architecture, conceived by  Gov. Warren Hastings and  designed by Thomas Lyon in 1777, served as the office for writers - administrative staff and clerks of the English Company; hence  the name.

Kolkata, writers'building.theguardian.com

Writers' Building with RBI building, Kolkata, en.wikipedia.org

Time and tide changes, so does the utility of this  historical building in the early years itself. In 1800  Fort William College  opened to impart training to  writers in Oriental languages,  and  later  it moved over to this building and functioned here for 20 years during which time a hostel for 32 students, exam hall, library and teaching rooms were added. Many of them exist even to day. In 1821, a  long  veranda  stretching 128 feet long supported by beautiful  32 feet high iconic columns, was built  both on the first and second floors. The periods between 1879-1906 saw the addition of two new blocks that could be accessed by impressive iron staircases that are still in use. In the same period the building saw a new face-lift - Greco - Roman look, etc., as mentioned before. 

The Writers' Building, covering  the entire northern stretch of the  water body locally called Lal Dighi in the B.B.D. Bagh area,  has a Cluster of statues atop the building. The terrace of this building has  several other statues, including four clusters of statues,  named 'Justice', 'Commerce', 'Science' and 'Agriculture with the Greek gods and goddesses of these four streams - Zeus, Hermes, Athena and Demeter respectively.

During  British East India  company's rule  and later under the
British Crown (soon after the Sepoy Mutiny) in 1857, so many important decisions were taken  by the Governors and other powerful officials  right under the roof of this  building in tune with the British government in London over managing this huge subcontinent and the vast revenue being generated in the subcontinent. It was once the most powerful seat of British power overseas, next to London.

This building came up on a plot once occupied by St Anne’s church. This plot along with the adjacent plot were granted to Thomas Lyon, a self-styled builder (who may have formerly been a carpenter in England),  to construct a building to house the clerks – or “writers” –  a need-based, utilitarian structure  and lacked aesthetic elements. When completed in 1780, the Writers’ Building  was a 3 story structure  and occupied one side of what was then called Tank Square. It had 19 residential quarters, each with three sets of windows; a bit of an eyesore When the British crown  took control of India after 1857 from EIC, the Writers' building saw some expansion  in French Renaissance style  to have a power image and better look. Since the construction of the original structure by Lyon, 13 poorly planned  blocks have been added up and the casualties are the aesthetic and heritage elements. A few years ago, restoration work began on the building where roughly 3000 to 4000 govt. employees worked. 

During the last 235 years, the city rulers intentionally changed the external structures, though the skeleton of the  original remained intact. This amazing bright re-colored English building has been around since 1780 and has seen the gradual growth of the city. the same building, during India's freedom struggle, witnesses the assassination of a British official in 1930. The British officials, in particular, the police forces were brutal toward the natives and this resulted in the growth of certain groups of revolutionaries  who believed in striking terror among the rude  English officials. In the 18th century there existed two towns - Black Town meant for the Indian natives and White Town where the EIC officials were settled just outside Ft.William. To avoid racial disturbances, from 1742 onwards, White Town was barricaded using palisades.