New Market is a market in Kolkata situated on Lindsay Street. Technically, it referred to an enclosed market but today in local parlance the entire Lindsay Street shopping area is often known as New Market.
Some of the earliest English quarters of Calcutta were in an area known then as Dalhousie Square. Terretti and Lalbazar nearby were the customary shopping haunts of the British. Later settlements arose in Kashaitola, Dharmatala and Chowringhee. By the 1850s, British colonists held sway in Calcutta and displayed increasing contempt for the “natives” and an aversion to brushing shoulders with them at the bazaars. In 1871, moved by a well orchestrated outcry from English residents, a committee of the Calcutta Corporation began to contemplate a market which would be the preserve of Calcutta’s British residents.
Spurred by the committee’s deliberations, the Corporation purchased Lindsay Street, made plans to raze the old Fenwick’s Bazar located there, and commissioned Richard Roskell Bayne, an architect of the East Indian Railway Company, to design the Victorian Gothic market complex which would take its place. It began to take shape in 1873, and Bayne was honoured for his achievement with a Rs. 1,000 rupee award, a large sum in the 1870s.
The giant shopping arcade was thrown open to the English populace with some fanfare on January 1, 1874. News of Calcutta’s first municipal market spread rapidly. Affluent colonials from all over India shopped at exclusive retailers like Ranken and Company (dressmakers), Cuthbertson and Harper (shoe-merchants) and R.W. Newman or Thacker Spink, the famous stationers and book-dealers.
Despite the appearance of new air-conditioned, American-style, shopping malls all over Kolkata, New Market, which has survived two devastating fires and regular flooding, remains at the core of the shopping experience in the city. Over 2000 stalls under its roof sell everything from clothing to wheeled luggage to electronics to a special cheese found nowhere else. Under its apparent chaos lie extraordinary finds as well as remarkable bargains.
Fire of 1985 & 2011
A fire burned down large portions of the original building on December 13, 1985. It has since been rebuilt, and provided with a new wing, which houses a famous kashmiri handicraft (shawls,carpets and walnut items) shop "PUMPOSH", and other storied retailers. Another fire broke out on July 20, 2011 but was confined to a small area in the Flower Range near the Lindsay Street entrance.