[Illustration: Photo by Johnston & Hoffmann G.F. Kellner & Co.’s premises in Chowringhee]
[Illustration: Photo. by Bourne & Shepherd. Army and Navy Stores, Chowringhee]
ARMY AND NAVY STORES.
Most people will recollect the erection of this exceedingly handsome block of buildings, but few perhaps are aware that some time previously the Bengal Club had entertained serious thoughts of acquiring the original property for their new club house, and had even gone the length of having plans and estimates prepared, but for some reason the negotiations fell through and the idea was abandoned. As far as I recollect, the price was very moderate, some Rs. 2,50,000 or Rs. 3,00,000. I think the main objection to the scheme was based on sentimental grounds, many of the members disliking the idea of forsaking the old place in which the club had been housed for so many years. There is no doubt that it would have been an ideal spot, bounded as it is east, west, and south by three of the principal thoroughfares of Calcutta.
Has undergone some changes and alterations. The first to make its appearance was the erection of the house situated in the compound of No. 3, on the left-hand side as you enter the gateway from the street; it rather spoils the general look of the place, but I fancy the proprietor is amply compensated for this by the increase of his monthly revenue. No. 10 on the opposite side, once one of Mrs. Walter’s boarding houses, has recently been altered and much improved, and is, I believe, let out in suites. Further down on the south side two new houses have been built in the compound of old No. 4; I cannot say that this is any improvement, and it has involved the sacrifice of one of the most attractive compounds in the street. This I fear, as time progresses, will be the fate of many of the compounds that now adorn this part of the city.
I well recollect in the far-off days what was then called 2, Harington Street, next to Kumar Arun Chundra Singha’s house. It consisted of an old-fashioned, long, straggling two-storeyed building, situated in the centre of a large, ill-kempt compound. It was run as a boarding house, together with several other establishments of a similar kind, by a lady of the name of Mrs. Box, who was well known at that time, and who held the same sort of position in Calcutta as did Mrs. Monk at a later period. She had the reputation of being very wealthy, and her old khansamah I know had also done himself very well, as when he retired he set up as a ticca gharri proprietor just at the junction of Camac Street and Theatre Road, and was one of the first to introduce into Calcutta the “Fitton” gharri.
[Illustration: Chowringhee Mansions, built on the site of Old United Service Club.]