King Edward Memorial Hall (KEM) , Kanpur built in memory of King's visit to the city

King Edward Hall,  Kanpur,

King Edward Hall,  Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Above image: The King Edward Hall:  Located in the central public park - Phool Bagh /Maidan,  Civil Lines,  Kanpur  it now  houses the museum.  Sangrahalaya / Kanpur Museum is the official museum in this city,   which is rightfully  called the historical "book" of this city.   This 2 story structure  painted yellow has   small turrets  at the corners under  domes with a large clock on the central tower of the hall, imparting Indo-European style of design. The look of this old building is further enhanced by the carved arches as on the first, and second floors ..........................

Soon after the death of King Edward in  May 1910 in London, as he happened to be a man of affable disposition, across India including Tamil Nadu, Kerala and  Mysore  many memorials in the form of statues, town halls, etc.,  came up.  A Town  Hall was built by the British residents  in the industrial city of Kanpur, UP  in honor of his visit to the city. 

Cawnpore, or Kanpur,  was once a busy trading center (one of the oldest industrial cities in Uttar Pradesh), particularly in textiles, leather, etc., and, no doubt, it was then known  as the Manchester of Asia, during the colonial period. European business community settled down in large number there felt the need of  a place for entertainment  for relaxation to spend their spare time on week ends.  After the end of 5 days  of hard work in a tropical country European wanted to get out of their home to socialize or watch some kind of stage shows or dramas. They felt the need of a public hall and the death of   King Edward VII in 1910 provided them an opportunity  to fulfill their desire. 

The Europeans  built the  hall  in honor of the king which, at the same time,  could be used for cultural activities such as  ballroom dancing, public  meeting etc. The building  named  King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hall to commemorate his 1876 visit to Cawnpore  was constructed with the funds  raised through public subscription from European traders settled in Kanpur and also Indian merchants.

King Edward VII hall, Kanpur.

Unfortunately the construction of  the long - desired hall  was  stopped   midway in 1914 on account of  World War I  (lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918)  and  wittingly Britain was part of the  Allied Powers. It was mostly a revelry among the European powers  and British India (as part of the Empire)   was forced to supply war necessities, arms, ammunition, etc. It was a big drain on the Indian economy  to the tune of  about  to £146.2 million by the end of 1919-20.(this money otherwise would have gone to the Indian public) besides participation of 1.5 million Indians  in the conflict  across the world in  East Africa, the Middle East and the Western Front.  .  

As the wounded soldiers of war  both English and Indians needed hospital for rehabilitation, etc. the hall was used to house wounded British soldiers  though there was a regular hospital in Kanpur Cantonment for  the wounded soldiers. The facilities in this hospital were inadequate, so  the K.E.M. Hall was temporarily used to house wounded World War I British soldiers inside KEM Hall.  After the war, KEM Hall became  an orthopedic rehabilitation hospital. Subsequently,  it  became Harcourt Butler Technological Institute in 1920.  An interesting fact is  KEM was devised  plans were afoot to have a wooden flooring in the main hall to facilitate ball room dancing for the Europeans. Later the idea was put in the cold storage due to WWI. 

King Edward VII of Britain.

Above image: King Albert Edward VII, (born November 9, 1841, London, England—died May 6, 1910, London),  the second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  London), king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British dominions and emperor of India from 1901. He was quite and affable sovereign and a leader of society. He was fond of hunting While on a visit to India and Nepal he spent several days on hunting in the jungles. ......... 

Finally completed in 1918, the Europeans found the KEM quite useful for various  cultural activities. On occasions it was rented out to rich Indian business families to conduct the wedding. After India's independence at the instigation of some freedom fighters the names of many colonial buildings  were changed and renamed after Indian patriots. 

Old British cannon, Kanpur Museum.

KEM Hall  renamed as Gandhi Bhawan. Gandhi Bhawan now is converted in a  municipal library and the Kanpur Sangrahalaya Museum that was established in 1999.  It is in Phool Bagh  at the intersection of Mall Road and the Kanpur-Lucknow Road. Every year a number of flower shows are organized in this beautiful well-maintained park park. Both the Summer House and a big Public library are  located in the Phool Bagh.

The museum's collection includes an old colonial period artillery gun,  etc. The things on display there are   related  events and people who have influenced the growth of Kanpur city and  there are other details about the nation as a whole.  The exhibits  cover both  colonial and postcolonial period; quite educative for the students who wish to improve their G,K..