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Metcalfe Hall

Metcalfe Hall
The Imperial Library.jpg
Metcalfe Hall in 1905
EtymologySir Charles T. Metcalfe
General information
Architectural styleneoclassical, Greek revival
LocationKolkata, West Bengal, India

Metcalfe Hall is a heritage building situated in Kolkata, India, at the junction of Strand Road and Hare Street in the heart of the city's business district. The architecture is reflective of the British imperial architecture at the middle of the nineteenth century, and visually similar to ancient Greek temples. It was built between 1840-1844 according to the design prepared by the city magistrate, C.K. Robinson and named after Sir Charles T. Metcalfe, the Governor-General of India, in honour of his efforts towards a free press. The building faces the Hooghly river on the West.


Initially, the building housed the Calcutta Public Library collection, formed by Lord Metcalf, then the Governor General, who transferred 4,675 volumes from the library of the College of Fort William. These volumes and donations of books from individuals formed the nucleus of the library, which was created under private auspices. Dwarkanath Tagore was the first proprietor of Calcutta Public Library.[1] Presently, the ground floor houses the Asiatic Society's rare foreign journals and manuscripts section,[2] while the first floor houses offices, exhibition galleries and a sales counter of the Archaeological Survey of India.


The main entrance from the West comprising a giant flight of stairs has been closed. The building is now accessed through the portico on the East, from the portico on the 'Hare Street'. The building is raised on a solid basement and thirty huge Corinthian pillars support a massive entablature. The columns and colonnade surround the whole building.

Internally there are two stories comprising five halls.



  1. ^ ""Historical Background, Calcutta Public Library", National Library of India. Online". Archived from the original on 17 June 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Metcalfe Hall", The Asiatic Society. Online.