During the early days of British rule in India, there was a time, when the authority urgently felt the need to construct new buildings in the city of Calcutta to accommodate its newly developed departments and also to make necessary arrangements for the residential quarters for the steadily growing army of the staff members, to keep the government machinery functioning smoothly. To meet the need of the day, they aggressively started to acquire all the landed properties around the Government House.
In the process of acquisition, the land on which Spence’s Hotel stood, was also acquired by the Government in the 1880’s and the hotel was relocated to Wellesley Place, subsequently renamed Red cross Place, from where it continued to operate, until it was demolished later most unceremoniously.
After the acquisition of the said property, the building of the Spence’s Hotel, located near the High Court Building and just adjacent to the Town Hall, was pulled down and a massive building, designed by architect EJ Martin, was constructed on the said plot of land between 1882 and 1884, under the supervision of the Executive Engineer C J Mills, during the tenure of Lord Ripon as the Governor General of the British India.
Widely known as the Treasury building, the huge brick red structure, located exactly at the crossing of Esplanade Row (West) and the Government Place (West) was built on a classical quadrangular plot.
The enormous building, equipped with long corridors, wide walls and towering windows under decorated arches, is aesthetically adorned with matching sets of Corinthian pillars and railed roofs. A pair of phoenixes at regular intervals added glory to its majestic glamour. Apart from that, the ornamental tablets, arched gateways and beautiful mansards with four sloping sides at each end of the long cloisters running along the quadrangles, made it gracefully gorgeous.
Initially, the extensively ornamented enormous building, occupying an entire city block, was meant to accommodate the offices of the finance department of the British India. However, in the long run it became the offices of the Principal Accountant General (Audit) & Accountant General (Accounts & Entitlements), West Bengal (under Comptroller & Auditor General of India) and is popularly known as the Treasury Building or simply AG Bengal.