Formerly covered the site of the Treasury and Imperial Secretariat Buildings, and was considered a first-class residence for old Calcuttaites as well as for casual visitors. It possessed many attractions and conveniences, being centrally and pleasantly situated within easy distance of the maidan and Eden Gardens and business quarters. The entrance was from the east, facing Government House. There was a large, old-fashioned wooden gate and a lofty porch of considerable dimensions arched over by a passage running across the first floor from north to south, and affording complete protection from sun and rain and leading into a spacious, open quadrangular courtyard, where carriages and other conveyances used to stand. The portico was flanked on either side by two or three steps, those on the right giving direct and immediate access to the dining-room which ran parallel to it in its entire length, the billiard and other public rooms branching off from them. On the left was the principal entrance to the residential quarters. The passage above referred to, I think, is a clear indication that at some time or other the hotel was divided into two sections and the porch was an open gateway. I once lived there myself for a time and many well-known Calcutta people made it their permanent home. In those days any number of people lived in town, over their offices, or in residential flats, and it was then as now noted for its extreme healthiness and salubrity.
THE GREAT EASTERN HOTEL, LTD.
Was originally styled Wilson’s Hotel, and as such it is known even at the present day to gharriwallahs, coolies, and certain others of the lower orders. It was started long before my arrival in Calcutta as a bakery by Mr. Wilson, a well-known resident of Calcutta, and converted into a hotel at a later period. In the early sixties it was floated into a limited liability company by a few prominent businessmen, amongst whom was my old Burra Sahib. It was an entirely different place in appearance, both inside and out, from what it is now; it had only two storeys and no verandah or balconies; a large portion of the ground floor was occupied by shops, selling all sorts of goods, and owned by the hotel. The whole of the central portion from one end to the other was a sort of emporium lined on both sides with a continuous row of stalls on which were displayed the most miscellaneous assortment of articles it was possible to conceive. In addition to all this they kept for many years a farm at Entally which they eventually closed down, and the produce which they then sold is now vended by Liptons in exactly the same place at the north end of the building.