Historical and restored ''Audrey House''. Ranch, Jharkhand - now a cultural hub!!

 The other historical heritage site that was renovated  in 2016 is  the Audrey House in Ranchi, Jaharkhand. Built in 1854 under the English company rule  by then deputy commissioner of  Chhotanagpur Captain Hannyington,  it had remained in bad condition  for a long period owing to delay of  sanction  of  funds from the government and, as usual, official lethargy.  A sum of  Rs.5 core was spent on  conservation  and is still part of the Raj Bhavan - Governor's residence. 

Audrey House, Ranchi, Jharkhand.telegraphindia.com

It continued to serve as  an extension of the governor's secretariat under the  Raj  that came under the direct British Crown administration. It housed  offices of the government  as Ranchi was the summer capital of undivided Bihar. When a new state - Jharkhand was carved out in 2000, for some unknown reasons the Audrey House did not get any attention  in terms of its utility and was left it to rot.  

Audrey House, Ranchi, JhK harkhandphotos.blogspot.com

The proposal to repair and renovate the Audrey House was mooted way back in 2009 and later was put it the cold storage for a long time. Then in March  2013 steps were taken to begin the construction work and the proposal included  to convert into a Cultural Hub to promote native culture, arts including tribal arts and handcraft works, etc. The plan include a full fledged cultural center complete with galleries, a documentation Center, an open-air theatre for 600 people  and a tribal museum covering various aspects of tribal life, etc.

Audrey House, Ranchi, JhK thinkingthefuture.com

Audrey House, Ranchi, JhKetvbharat.com

Above images: Audrey House, Ranchi, Jharkhand.  A single story structure with slanting tiled roof and high ceiling. The roof is supported by wooden rafters and purlins. It may be mistaken for a bungalow in a remote Kerala town. Whoever was the architect, he designed this simple structure in sync with a tropical place. The high ceiling, series of ventilators at higher level plus  wide verandah all around the building will keep the indoors cool and it will be pleasant for the residents during hot summer season. Set in the middle of spacious open space surrounded by trees, this structure covers a total area of   over 30,000sqft, This building remained unused for years and consequently the surrounding areas were filled with wild growth of plants and vegetation prior to restoration. originally, the walls were made of sun-dried bricks along with horizontal bamboo frames and mud-lime mortar. As part of the renovation  work, wooden floor was restored , so were the roof tiles. The wooden rafters and purlins according to INTACH who did the restoration work, were strengthened. Apparently the wood was of high quality. Parapet railings were redone. Since lawn is an integral part of the house landscaping was also done along with overhauling of the entire structure. The conservationists took care of all the facilities and requirements needed for the proposed Cultural Center.. The work was completed  as planned and in  January 2016  the renovated structure, now a cultural hub was opened by the then President P. Mukherjee.