Victoria Hall, Coimbatore (1892), a heritage structure restored for posterity!

Victoria Town Hall Coimbatore.

Queen Victoria's statue, Bangalore.

Above image:  Queen Victoria's marble statue in the Cubbon Park of Bangalore. It  was officially unveiled on February 5, 1906 by the then Prince of Wales George Frederick Ernest Albert-  Of the more than 50 statues of Victoria that were installed in India after her death in January 1901, only five still remain at their original locations. Bangalore  statue is one of them.

The Victoria Town Hall in Coimbatore city, listed by INTACH as a heritage structure, is an important colonial building in this industrial city of Tamil Nadu. Steeped in history, this famous town hall in the bygone period served as a venue for public meetings, council meetings, civic receptions and banquets in honour of celebrities visiting the city. Once Mahatma Gandhiji and  Rajaji attended the meetings held in this hall.  Constructed in 1892 in honour of Queen Victoria, this old structure was about to be pulled down in 1990s based on a state government order  for its demolition.

.Location, Coimbatore city, Tamil Nadu.

According to Ms. Ghulati, in order to facilitate the construction of a Town Hall, the Coimbatore municipality granted the land and Rs.3,000 in 1892. To meet additional costs, etc., the members of the   Town Hall Committee (comprising prominent citizens of the city) gave donations. The building  has walls made of stone and lime and mortar, panelled shutters for windows, and timber trusses supporting the roof with  Mangalore tiles. The impressive entrance has Gothic-styled arches  and a balcony. The assembly hall can be accessed through the foyerl. The mezzanine floor is now being used as a visitors' gallery for council meetings.

Coimbatote, Town Hall.

Victoria Hall, Coimbatore. The Hindu

Until 1953, the Town Hall was  under the control of the committee' and in the same year ownership and management changed hands and  the  Coimbatore Municipality took up the responsibility.

Coimbatore: Victoria Town hall.

Victoria Town hall happened to be a heritage structure with historical value and its presence was a necessity for the posterity.  The 6,000 sq.ft structure with the 3,000 sq.ft. council hall, and a 48-cent plot in the heart of the city had to be saved at any cost. Thanks to INTACH (the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage)  and Ms. Gulathi, they  took up the matter with the Corporation Commissioner. 
/Coimbatore Town Hall

Special Postal cover 2011 Victoria Hall, CBE

A campaign  had been launched to save the structure from demolition  with the support of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore. At last, the building was saved and restored back to glory at the cost of rupees 15 lakhs in 1992.

Earlier, the building was used to conduct council meetings  till 1953. From 1952 to 1986, a library and reading room  functioned on the mezzanine floor of the hall. The hall  also served  as a go down to store electrical goods. The Victoria Town Hall was listed by INTACH in 1995, Ms. Gulathi  says.  When the building was used as a go down and was to be demolished, it was in a dilapidated condition with broken window panes, protruding stones in the old wall and posters on the exterior portions.  This  100 year old heritage site became an eye-sore and ought to be saved for posterity.

In order to reduce the heat and radiation inside the portions, a  low-roofed corridor, with Tuscan type  columns, runs along  around the three sides of the hall. the other advantages of side corridor is aeration and good lighting during the day; besides it won't let the rain water inside the hall.  According to INTACH the restoration work was focused on roofing and wooden rafters. The experts at INTACH were quite satisfied with the strength of walls of this old building.
Glad the Victoria Town was finally saved from total demolition. Kudos to INTACH engineers and others who were behind  the old town hall and its restoration.