The Writers' Building (Bengali: মহাকরণ Mahakaran), often shortened to just Writers ', is the secretariat building of the State Government of West Bengal in India. It is located in West Bengal's capital city of Kolkata. It housed the office of the Chief Minister of West Bengal till 4 October 2013. Now most of the departments has moved out to another building named Nabanna in Howrah on a temporary basis for facilitating renovation of the Writers'.
The Writers' Building originally served as the office for writers of the British East India Company, hence the name. Designed by Thomas Lyon in 1777, the Writers' Building has gone through several extensions over the years.
In 1821 a 128 ft-long verandah with Ionic style columns, each 32 ft high, were added on the first and second floors. From 1889 - 1906 two new blocks were added, approached by iron staircases that are still in use. Writers’ acquired its Greco-Roman look, complete with the portico in the central bay and the red surface of exposed brick. The parapet was put in place and the statues sculpted by William Fredric Woodington in 1883, that line the terrace, were installed.
Writers' Building Timeline
1776: The site of the demolished St Anne’s church and the adjoining plot were granted to Thomas Lyon, after whom Lyons Range is named, to construct buildings to accommodate the junior servants of the East India Company or the “writers”. Lyon was acting on behalf of Richard Barwell, member of the Council, when Warren Hastings was governor. Writers’ Buildings was the first three-storeyed building in Calcutta.
1780: Barwell leased out the range of buildings to the Company for the rent-free accommodation of its writers “for five years by his own rate at 31,700 current rupees per annum to be paid half-yearly in advance”. Writers’ looked like a “shabby hospital, or poor-house”.
1800: Fort William College, opened to train writers in Oriental languages, later moved to this building. Over the next 20 years, structural changes were made: a hostel for 32 students and an exam hall, which still exist, a lecture hall, four libraries and rooms to teach Hindi and Persian.
The building went under renovation in late 2013, in a project costing INR200 crore (US$32 million). Prior to this, the state Secretariat, and Chief Minister’s office, temporarily shifted to Howrah River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC) Building. In February 2014, the projected was stalled after Conservation experts and state Public Works Department (PWD), found the plan submitted by an architect firm insufficient, meanwhile the team of Jadavpur University architects was invited to conduct tests of the structure, before the actiual renovation could be commenced.