Town Hall, Delhi, a silent reminder of many colonial events

satue of Swami Shraddhanand in frontDelhi_Town_Hall

The Delhi Town Hall at Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, housed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) from 1866 during the British Raj till late 2009. The Town Hall was  according to patriots and freedom fighters, the seat of power - British paramountcy. It took 3 years to complete the construction work - from 1860 to 1863.  At that point of time  Bahadur Shah, last Mogul ruler  was still in the Red Fort, not as a ruler, but as a prisoner of the British Crown. Previously known as Lawrence Institute (named after Lawrence brothers), it was built with yellow painted  and stone, and carved white stone trim. 

Delhi Town HallHindustan Times

Delhi College of Higher Studies functioned here for sometime. The municipality bought the building for ₹135,457.00 (US$2,100) in 1866. The building housed a European club and a library in addition to government offices. Once in front of the hall, there stood a nice bronze statue of queen Victoria. Unfortunately, after independence in 1947,  it was shifted to Delhi College of Arts and in its place a statue of the Arya Samaj leader Swami Shraddhanand was  installed.

 There used to be a clock tower  that collapsed in 1952, the Town Hall was  and still is one of the important  landmarks of Chandni Chowk in the Walled City of Delhi. The place where the hall  stands  was once part a nice  garden made by Shah Jehan's daughter, Jehanara. There was also an inn; the sarai (inn) was used as guest house for VIP visitors and wealthy Persian traders. The area was known as Sahibabad or Begum Bagh at that time. It was near town hall on 23 December 1912 the nationalists from Punjab and Begal headed by Rashbehari Bose  hurled a bomb at a procession accompanying lord Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst. It was an abortive attempt, lord Hardinge, though injured, was unscathed, but his Mahout was killed.

 The Municipal office was shifted to the new MCD Civic Centre on Minto Road in Central Delhi formally inaugurated in 2010.Presently plans are afoot to repair and restore this 150 year old Victorian British building, which, like St. Marks, is a silent reminder of many colonial events.