[Illustration: The five houses in Chowinghee that formed the nucleus of the Grand Hotel.]
[Illustration: Photo by Johnston & Hoffmann. W. Leslie & Co’s premises, Chowinghee]
[Illustration: W. Leslie & Co.’s premises, Chowringhee Photo, by Johnston & Hoffmann, Calcutta.]
It carried on for some considerable time after my arrival, but eventually there was a split in the cabinet and it was wound up. The houses were afterwards, I think, let out in residential flats and boarding houses, and at one time No. 16 was converted into the Royal Hotel by Mr. Jack Andrews, former proprietor of old Spence’s Hotel; they were finally acquired by Mrs. Monk. Mr. Stephen purchased from Mrs. Monk the whole of the houses herein mentioned and all the property attached thereto, and proceeded gradually to develop them into the very handsome-looking structure which now adorns the city under the style of the Grand Hotel. On the spot where the dining-room stands used to be an open air skating rink run as a private club. It was rather small, but we had some very enjoyable evenings. Of course all the members except myself have long since disappeared. I remember only a few—Mr. Ted Smyth of Turner Morrison & Co., Mr. Craik of George Henderson & Co.’s piece-goods department, Mr. Loraine King, who met his wife there for the first time, and Mr. J.J. Ross, well known in Calcutta society in those days.
Is greatly changed from what it used to be. At one time in the very early days it was occupied principally by boarding houses of a second class type, and amongst them was one situated at the top at the left-hand corner, which has been since pulled down and the present building erected on its site, in which young assistants in offices on not too large a salary used to get comfortable quarters with home like surroundings at a very moderate figure. It was as far as I remember run by a widow lady whose husband had left her rather badly off, and she took much interest in, and carefully mothered her young charges, amongst others a son of her own who was in the Bank of Bengal. On the opposite side an old house has been renovated and faced with iron railings which has much improved its general appearance. Turning into Chowringhee again we approach Castellazzo’s, Mr. Leslie’s new premises, the Picture Palace, and Perry & Co.’s shop. These are all built, with the exception of Castellazzo’s, in the compound of Mr. Gubbay’s old house in Lindsay Street, as well as all the other shops extending round the corner including Wallace & Co. I understand that Mr. Leslie has acquired the whole of this property, and will, in the course of time, demolish the present buildings and erect in continuation of his present new block a very handsome pile having a tower at the corner of Lindsay Street.