Old Court House Street – Reflection of the City of Joy

The Old Court House Street, Kolkata is the stretch that connects the Esplanade Row East with Dalhousie Square (BBD Bagh). Constructed during the British Raj, the street holds some of the magnificent architectural marvels and cultural reflection of the colonial era.

Old Court House Street – A Quick Glance

Famous for: Heritage walk, Heritage Hotel (The Lalit Great Eastern Hotel)

Built in: 1781

Parking available: Yes

ATM: Yes

Religious centres: Tipu Sultan Mosque

Education: University of Calcutta, College Street Campus

Shopping: Simpark Mall, Big Bazar Supermarket, Oxford Book Store, Mio Amore Confectionary

Ticket centres: Yes

Eateries: Restaurants, Cafes, Pubs

Healthcare: Royd Nursing Home and Healthcare Limited

Tourism: Town Hall Museum


Old Court House Street – An Overview

The heritage stretch from Esplanade Row (East) meeting at BBD Bagh is a worth going for a walk to explore the colonial culture. The place got its name from the Old Court House, which was located at the same spot where St. John’s Church stands now. The stretch of the street towards the northern part is known as Dalhousie Square (East). The Red Road is also an extension of this street.

The Old Court House Street, Kolkata was constructed around 1781, during the same period when the finishing touches were put to the new Fort William. The street is linked with the name of Col. Henry Watson, the man responsible for bringing in several improvements in the city, including the laying out of the surrounding Esplanade Row.

The Old Court House Street Leads to...

Towards the north of the Old Court House Street, is the busy BBD Bagh with a number of offices and commercial properties. The Kolkata Old Court House Street starts from the crossing of Ganesh Avenue and runs till the crossing of Waterloo Street which is renamed as Hemanta Bose Sarani. The road is further stretched from Waterloo Street to Rani Rashmoni Avenue to the road which is renamed as Marx-Engels Bithi.

Old Court House Street to Council House Street

The Council House Street is linked with BBD Bagh at the western side with the shopping hub Esplanade Row. The construction of the Old Council House in the region had led to the naming of the region. The Old Council House is located on the western part of Government House. The construction was wrecked in 1800. Post that, the southern part of the street was known as Government Place West.

Near the corner of Council House Street lies the Fort William College.

Old Court House Street – Major Attractions

Great Eastern Hotel

One of the most prominent constructions in the region, the Great Eastern Hotel is an imposing palatial building of the colonial era. The construction was established in 1840-1841 as a hotel by David Wilson used to run a bakery. The hotel was named as the Auckland Hotel, named after George Eden who was the first Earl of Auckland, then Governor General of India.

The Great Eastern Hotel at Old Court House Street was opened with 100 rooms and a departmental store on the ground floor. Then named as The Auckland, the hotel was later expanded in the 1860s and was renamed from D. Wilson and Co. to Great Eastern Hotel Wine and General Purveying Co. The name Great Eastern Hotel was finalized in 1915.

The hotel was a gala affair during that era and was touted as a place where “a man could walk in at one end, buy a complete outfit, a wedding present, or seeds for the garden, have an excellent meal, a burra peg (double) and if the barmaid was agreeable, walk out at the other end engaged to be married” – as quoted by Rudyard Kipling in City of Dreadful Night.

Tipu Sultan Mosque

The Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque, also known as Tipu Sultan Masjid is a famous mosque in Kolkata located at Old Court House Street. The mosque is a relic of architectural and cultural heritage. What makes the mosque stand out is that fact that unlike usual Islamic culture, it allows people from all sections of society and religions to visit and to take pictures of this historical premise.

The mosque was built in 1842 by Prince Ghulam Mohammed, the youngest son of Tipu Sultan. There is an identical mosque built by the Prince in 1835 near Tollygunge in Kolkata.

St. John’s Church

St. John’s Church was originally built as a cathedral and was among the first public buildings constructed under the rule of East India Company when Calcutta was the effective capital of British India. The monument was established at the North-Western corner of Raj Bhavan, and it served as the Anglican Cathedral of Calcutta till 1847. After that, it was transferred to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The edifice of the church is modelled on St Martin-in-the-Fields of London. A fund of INR 30,000 (then) was raised in 1784 through public lottery and the construction was initiated. It took around three years to complete the church finally in 1787. St. John’s Church is the third oldest church in the city standing right after the Armenian and the Old Mission Church.

Old Court House Street – Reflection of Vintage Kolkata
A heritage walk across the lanes of Old Court House Street, Kolkata would focus on the vintage colonial era focusing on the architectural marvels and cultural essence of the bygone days. Everything from the roads to the hotel to the churches, shopping complexes and official places, the impact of the British era is clearly visible and prominent.

Old Court House Street, Kolkata is the stretch that takes you to down memory lanes, and is a perfect way to explore the era, its culture, the engineering ravel, and the other aspects of colonial era that still gives us goosebumps with their impactful presence.

The traffic, the people, and the locality might have changed, but the spirit, and elegance of the Old Court House Street, Kolkata remains intact since centuries. People flock here to explore the heritage wing of the city, and the lanes never fail to impress the history buffs and adventure freaks with an offbeat taste of the City of Joy.

Take a walk through the Old Court House Street, and know the Kolkata that it used to be few centuries back, and still reflects right here every day.