The Mayo Hall in Renaissance Revival-style, Bengaluru sporting Pompeian Red outercoat since 2015

Mayo Hall with new red outer coat since 2015

Among the many Colonial buildings  of Bengaluru, the Mayo Hall  built in honor of an Irish man the 6th Earl of Mayo (Richard Southwell Bourke)  is a stunning timeless structure grand in European style. The building came up in 1883 using public funds (instituted in 1874) - roughly Rs.45000 and  was inaugurated by the British Resident on June 6, 1883 in a colorful ceremony.  Built in  Renaissance Revival-style architecture (a common design style then)  no visitor can miss the  two-story structure's impressive front,  ornate windows, Tuscan pillars, quality  wooden flooring. Italian chandeliers, Greek cornices, etc. A combination of flat and slanting roofs and ornate pediments over the outer windows enhance the look of the building.

Mayo Hall Bangalore, Old 

Above image: This is an old 1911 postcard of the Municipal Office & Magistrate Court or Mayo Hall in Bangalore (now Bengaluru). The building referred to in this postcard’s copy of an oil painting is apparently the Mayo Hall in Bangalore.. The outer color coat of the building changed in the later period............................

Mayo Hall Bengaluru with fresh red coat,

Mayo Hall Bengaluru before 2015

The architect  was one  Sir Richard Hieram Sankey,  an officer in the Royal (Madras) Engineers in the East India Company's army in British India. About this marvellous building , according to the  Bangalore District Gazetteer, "The building in elevation is remarkable for its composition of architravated and pedimented windows, varied with key-storied arches, beautifully executed consoles, balustraded ledges and typical Greek cornice.''

Known for his effective administration and foresight during his short tenure in India as the Viceroy of India 1869 to 1872,  Lord mayo never sat idle and started paying serious attention to the infrastructure development that would be useful to the people as well as to the government. After his extensive visits across the land, Mayo was very much impressed, and stated that Britain should hold India "as long as the sun shines in heaven".The railways, agriculture, etc. were given priority as this would give a big boost to the public transport and agriculture production.  Apart, he also took special interest in the functioning of prisons across the country and the treatment of prisoners'  

Mayo Hall, bengaluru outer coat before 2015

Above image: Mayo Hall, Bengaluru, MG Road, overlooking Ulsoor lake and the parade grounds; known for impressive lavish ornamentation of windows in the front with pediment above...................... 

While on a tour of the prisons in Port Blair  in the Andaman islands to enquire into conditions of the prisoners there , unfortunately he was assassinated toward the end of the tour  in 1872 by an Afghan prisoner Sher Ali Afridi. In the wake of his death, several memorials came up in India like a boarding school for the Indian princely class in Ajmer, UP.

The Mayo Hall on the MG road, Bengaluru in Karnataka was built to recall his vital contribution and improved  efficiency of colonial administration under him in India in a short period. 

Way back in 2015  the historic Mayo Hall had begun to sport all red color,  more precisely Pompeian Red. The change of color became a subject of serious discussion and  remarks. Part of the reason was the PWD that undertook the renovation work (estimate was about Rs.2.5 crore) took an arbitrary decision on the choice of color on the exterior wall. The color-change left the historians and experts in artwork  not only divided but also made them say it spoils 'the aesthetics' of the majestic colonial building'. INTACH experts believe that the total red color change is  unnecessary'. Some historians say that many colonial buildings in the city are painted in Pompeian Red and it goes well with some and not with other colonial structures. The other explanation given was the building housed the Magistrate court and exterior red color coat would be ideal and would  match the Karnataka High Court building,Bengaluru. 

In the case of Chennai that has lots of colonial structures such as  the famous massive Madras High Court building along with the old lighthouse tower, old law college, Sub Court buildings, M.G.R. Central railway station building, the Victoria Town hall, etc have red color finish on the exterior. The renovation of Mayo hall was done in 2014-2015  for  the first time  after it was completed in 1883, Until 2015, the exterior color coat had a careful  combination of white and red since its construction 132 years ago. To facilitate additional accommodation for courts and advocate offices,  the museum in the Mayo hall detailing the life and legacy of Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bengaluru's in July 2019 was asked to  be shifted to another location.