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Standard Life Assurance Building Oriental Assurance Building
Royal Insurance Building - Heritage Commercial Buildrings
2270    Dibyendu Banerjee    22/11/2019

Though the Insurance sector in British India was dominated by the British Insurance Companies, initially they were not at all interested to extend their business in the country. In fact, they did not like the idea of their clients visiting India, let alone to live there. The reason behind their reluctance was strongly based on the reports of the high mortality rate of the Europeans in the country.

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In fact, they found it difficult to get used to the hot, humid and dusty tropical weather, the unhygienic living condition, untreated water and ultimately succumbed to death at a very early age due to the diseases like malaria, cholera and black fever. However, when Standard Life Assurance Company took up the challenge and flourished their business in Calcutta, the Oriental Assurance Company followed them and after those two pioneers, the Royal Insurance Company also made their presence on the field.

Royal Insurance Building

The Royal Insurance Company, formed in the United Kingdom in 1845 and long after the construction of the massive building of the Standard Life Assurance Company in Calcutta in 1896, the foundation stone of their Calcutta building was laid by Lord Carmichael in1916. The graceful building was designed by Edward Thornton and PWD architect William Banks Gwyther, who was behind the construction of many massive buildings like, the headquarters of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, the clock tower of Calcutta Port and the Military Secretariat Building on Esplanade Row East.

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The palatial building of the Royal Insurance Company was constructed under the supervision of JC Banerjee, who was the man behind the construction of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation building, located at the south-west corner of the former Tank Square. Nevertheless, the construction of the elegant building of the Royal Insurance Company was completed within two years, in 1918, at a cost of 50,000 Rupees.

Royal Insurance Building
Royal Insurance Building

Constructed in Edwardian style, the dignified building of Royal Insurance Company is located opposite to the GPO building, on the western side of the Tank Square (Dalhousie Square), at the corner of N.S. Road and Koilaghat Street. It is crowned with an elegant dome on its North East corner, though that is far more modest than the gigantic dome of the GPO.

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The intricate designs on the outer wall, especially at the top of the main entrance opposite to GPO, are simply eye-catching and admirable. Apart from the office of the Royal Insurance Company, the building also accommodated other offices from its inception, which included the Manufacturers’ Life Assurance Company of Canada (1887) and Sandersons &. Morgans (Solicitors) and following the tradition, the nicely maintained building still houses multiple offices under its roof.

Royal Insurance Building
Standard Life Assurance Building Oriental Assurance Building
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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10/03/2023: I am a Dharbanga princess so the Dalhousie land belongs to the Dharbanga family as does 15B Hemant Basu road and i really appreciate your detailed account and also mentioning that JC Banerjee constructed the elegant buildings what worries me is that advocate firm was taken over by whom and when i mean morgan ,, and the youth who did the merger ,, i see that people are not honest here in India and that they have used unfair means via the law rather than properly acquire a company and are we ensuring that companies are in safe hands? the other oriental bank building is so beautiful and we need people to repair it and also that the property at Ballygunge was again captures and made in to building that liken to matchboxes and with no verandah space The inability to sincerely carry out a business enterprise and maintain style and quality is sorely lacking I needed an advocate company in my fight for women and the exploited and it was given away i was head Common health Human right initiative a post obtained through application ti was taken away after i became Vive Head all India Human right jimmy carter commission
By: sheikha sheikhina Vandana Zayed Al nahayan [vandanazayedlanahayn@gmail,com]
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