The High Court building, Jabalpur, MP - yet another masterpiece from Irish architect Henry Irwin

The fascinating  masterpieces of colonial architecture in many public buildings like the educational institutions,  big railway stations  town halls, high courts, etc,. are still visible across India, reminding us of the British colonial legacy.  Madhya Pradesh state is no exception to it and the High Court building in Jabalpur is one such an Indo-European architectural splendor that incorporates the native design styles to make the Indians feel comfortable to use such public buildings. 

High court building, Jabalpur,

Jabalpur High Court building, now in Madhya Pradesh  constructed in 1899 under the Raj is still singled out for its owe-inspiring architecture. Then it was the most attractive and imposing court building in this part of the city. What is special about this building built by the popular Irish architect Henry Irwin is it is a blend of Gothic as well as mixed baroque features (widely adopted in Europe.) along with Indian design elements. Ornamental towers with steep pinnacles on either side at top, cornices, ornate curved arches and bastions  at corners in the facade, brick columns and  other features are set in such a fashion, the resultant grandeur appearance is quite enduring. The the two story building with a small structure on the terrace in the front is made of brick-lime mortar with high ceiling and long wide veranda  to cut down heat and improve flow of air inside. The entrance doors and the windows are large.

High Court building, Jabalpur, MP.

facade, colonial High Court building, Jabalpur, MP

Above image: High Court building Jabalpur: the colonial  regal structure is a spacious one  designed with 25 large court rooms to handle increasing court cases and litigations. In June 2019 fire broke out at Jabalpur High Court several fire tenders rushed to the spot and put out the fire. The cause of fire mishap was not ascertained then,.....

Irish architect in colonial India Sir Henry Irwin.

Above image:  Irish architect Henry Irwin (24 January 1841 – 5 August 1922), son of  the Roman Catholic Archdeacon of Killukin, County Roscommon (Republic of Ireland) was a prolific building designer and during the colonial period he was the main architect of a number of landmark public buildings in India mostly in Shimla, HP and Madras (Chennai, TN). Beginning his career in India as a civil engineer in 1866, his first project in India,  a large Catholic Church in Pachmarhi (also known as Panchmarhi) in Madhya Pradesh gave him recognition in his field.  Among the many public buildings designed by him mention may be  made of a few that still carry his legacy and innovative design style: Chennai Central Railway Terminus, Chennai, Government Museum, Chennai and Madras High Court, Chennai   of Tamil Nadu and Gaiety Theatre, Shimla and Viceregal Lodge, Shimla (now the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies of Himachal Pradesh.  Like British architect, Robert Chisholm, Henry took keen interest in fascinating native Indian architectural elements and meticulously incorporated them, thus Indo Saracenic Design style, (the birth place of Madras) gained  more popularity during his time in colonial India...........

The court housed in an impressive building  was constructed in 1899 by Raja Gokul Das, grand father of late Seth Govind Das, Former Member of Parliament. The construction work of this building was commenced in 1886 and completed in 1889.

This colonial building housed the Collector's Office, district Courts and the treasury before the formation of the  new State of Madhya Pradesh. On 1 November 1956, the court was shifted to Jabalpur two temporary benches of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh were constituted. The first court was established as the Nagpur High Court on 2 January 1936, 11 years before India's independence from the British. The present state of Madhya Pradesh, was originally  known  as Central Provinces in the 19th century, as Judicial Commission's territory and was administered by the Judicial Commissioner. The Judicial Commissioner's court at Nagpur was, at that time, the highest court. In 1821 a full fledged came into being when it became a province headed by the governor..