Sir Henry Harrison, the Chairman of the Municipality, was very angry when the opinion was sent him, and a case was sent to the Standing Counsel, Mr. A. Phillips, asking him, amongst other things, if the hotel could not be compelled to pull down the verandah, the latter agreed with the Advocate-General and held, moreover, that the Municipality could only order the verandah to be removed if it was necessary in the public interests, and then they would have to pay compensation. Thereupon the Municipality climbed down, took the Rs. 100 per month fee, and the matter dropped. But Sir Henry Harrison never forgave the hotel for what he called the dirty trick they had played him, and when the Municipal Act was amended, power was taken to charge such fees or rent as the Municipality think fit! (Section 340).
I have a distinct recollection of Bishop Cotton’s School prior to its removal to Simla having been located in the vicinity of the site of the School of Art. It was a pavilion kind of structure, one-storeyed, crescent-shaped, and supported by pillars with a verandah encircling the whole of the outer portion facing Chowringhee. It must have been removed shortly after my arrival in Calcutta, as I can remember nothing further about it. There were, in addition, the old Small Cause Court already mentioned, and other buildings, but the only one that clearly visualises itself in my mind was a small bungalow, self-contained in its own compound, shut in by tall wooden gates in which some foreign ladies (Italians, I think) resided. The old museum, before the present building was erected, was contained in the premises of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and in addition there was what was then known as the Museum of the Geological Survey of India located in 1, Hastings Street, now in the occupation of Grindlay & Co., and was under the charge of Dr. Oldham, a man of great attainments, and much honoured and respected by Government and all classes of the community.
[Illustration: Photo. by Johnston & Hoffmann. The Imperial Museum.]
[Illustration: Municipal Offices, at the present day.]
It will thus be perceived what vast strides have been made in the development of these particular branches of science and industry by the Government of India since the days about which I am writing.
There used to stand on the site of this very handsome-looking block of buildings a long, one-storeyed tenement which went by the name of “The Belatee Bungalow,” the proprietors being two brothers of the name of Payne. They sold provisions of all sorts and did a very lucrative trade. There was only one other shop of the kind in Calcutta, the Great Eastern Hotel. It was a business with a great reputation and patronised by all the Burra Memsahibs of Calcutta. A rather