Our History

The history of Victoria Memorial Hall begins in 1901, after the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901. Soon after, Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India, envisaged a memorial to the deceased Queen and wrote letters to Governors, Lieutenant Governors, notable public and Indian princes proposing the foundation of a National Indian Memorial to her Majesty and inviting their opinions in the matter. Lord Curzon propagated his vision by publishing his proposal in Calcutta Press and through his speech at Town Hall, Calcutta on 6th February 1901.  He said, “It was decided that the memorial should take the form of a great marble hall, known as Victoria Hall, which was to be erected on the Calcutta Maidan to serve primarily as a Monument to the Queen, and secondarily, as a National Gallery and Valhalla for the Indian Empire.” It was decided that the space surrounding the building would be converted into a beautiful garden.

In 1903, Sir William Emerson, the then President of the British Institute of Architects, who was experienced in working in the Indian context, was appointed as the Architect. Vincent J Esch was later appointed to be the supervising architect on site. M/s. Martin & Co. were appointed as the contractors. After taking various suggestions regarding the style of architecture into consideration, the Italian Classical Renaissance style was finalized. The excavations began on 27 January 1904 and the foundation stone was laid by Prince of Wales (George V) on 4th January 1906.

By 1921, the building, except for the cupolas on the four corner towers, was completed. On 28 December 1921, the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) visited the site formally and opened the monument to the public. The gardens were designed by Lord Redesdale and Sir David Prain and the building was fully constructed by 1934.

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Site Updated On

July 20, 2024