Sep 9, 2009

General Post Office (GPO), Calcutta 1885

Photo taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s in Calcutta, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views, with a view looking across the tank (reservoir) in Dalhousie Square towards the General Post Office on the north-west corner. As the capital of the British in India in the 19th century, Calcutta was endowed with many buildings projecting appropriate grandeur. Imposing edifices such as the post office, constructed in a neo-classical style and gleaming white with 'chunam', a form of polished stucco made of burnt seashells, helped Calcutta gain the epithet 'City of Palaces'. The city's Tank Square was renamed Dalhousie Square after Lord Dalhousie, Governor-General 1848-56. The new General Post Office was on the site of the New Custom House and the Old Fort. It was built in 1868 by Walter L. B. Granville (1819-74), who acted as consulting architect to the government of India from 1863 to 1868.