Northbrook Hall

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Northbrook Hall
Northbrook Hall, Dhaka (13-11-2009).jpg
Northbrook Hall as seen from the entrance
General information
Town or city Dhaka
Country Bangladesh
Coordinates 23°42′N 90°24′E / 23.7°N 90.4°E / 23.7; 90.4
Completed 1880
Owner Dhaka City Corporation

Northbrook Hall (also Lalkuthi; Red House because of its deep red color) was originally built as a town hall during the British period. It is situated at Farashgonj road in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh on the north bank of the Buriganga River.


A window ornated using the European style

In 1874, Indian Governor Thomas George Baring, Lord Northbrook, the Viceroy of India between 1872 and 1876, came to visit Dhaka. In order to make his visit memorable, Raja Rai Bahadur, along with eminent Zamidars and affluent citizens of Dhaka, donated 10 thousand and 5 thousand taka each to build the Town Hall in 1879. Abhay Chandra Das was the committee secretary. In 1880, the Commissioner of Dhaka inaugurated it and the personal orchestra of Nawab Abdul Ghani was brought to entertain the commissioner and the guests on inauguration.

On February 8, 1882, a public library was added on the south-east side of the Hall. It was named the Northbrook Public Library and became known for its literary collection. Many books were ruined during the 1971 Liberation War. To re-establish the library, the Maharaja of Tripura donated 1000 TK, the Zamidar of Baliati Brojendro Kumar Roy 1000 TK, Queen Shornomoi 700 TK, Kalikhrishno 500 TK and Bishaishori Devi donated 500 TK. In 1887, the library opened with 1000 books.

A clubhouse was added to the south-side and called Johnson Hall. At Northbrook Hall, Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore was honoured by Dhaka Municipality and the People's Association on 7 February 1926. In 1950, Northbrook Hall was used as a telegram office, and later as the Central Women’s College. The building is the property of Dhaka Municipality Corporation.[1][2]


Windows with columns and small arches

Northbrook Hall is an Indo-Saracen building, and a fusion of Mughal architecture and European Renaissance architectural styles. The semi-circular horseshoe arches contain the main entrance on the north side. The four octagonal minarets on the north side, along with pinnacles and ornamental parapet, show the Muslim and Mughal features. The windows, doors and walls were ornate, following the European style, but the domes at the top of the building were ornate following the Muslim style.[3]

Current situation[edit]

Northbrook Public Library

The Buriganga River could be seen from the Northbrook hall when it was built but by 1930, the riverfront and the river was obscured. The area lost its importance and residential character and had transformed into a commercial area. In 1998, a government education office was built by the side of Northbrook Hall, part of which is now used by a decorator, and a pentagram fountain in front of the north entrance now completely obscures the view.


  1. ^ Mamun, M. Dhaka Smriti Bismritir Nagari. Ananya, 1993, pp. 138–139.
  2. ^ Ahmed, Dr.N Discover The Monuments Of Bangladesh. University Press Limited, 1984, p.212 .
  3. ^ Ahmed, Dr.N Discover The Monuments Of Bangladesh. University Press Limited, 1984, p. 213.

Further reading[edit]

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