Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Alliance Bank of Simla

Alliance Bank of Simla building
The Mail of Adelaide carried, on the 28th of April, 1923, the story of the closure of the Alliance Bank of Simla. The reason shown was the “heavy losses reported in the last report, and the subsequent withdrawals”. The truth is, the bank failed because of heavy speculation by the management.
Established in 1874, Alliance Bank of Simla was a British run, but India registered bank, that began by taking over the business of the United Bank of India. The bank acquired several other firms over time, including the Delhi and London Bank, Bank of Upper India and even the Bank of Rangoon. The Calcutta branch was opened on the 15th of October, 1889. The building was constructed by Sir Rajen Mookerjee's firm Martin and Company, who were the people behind the vast majority of Calcutta's landmarks, including the Victoria MemorialThe building on Council House Street remains in pristine condition, sandwiched between Hong Kong House and The National Insurance Building. After the failure of the bank, it was taken over by the Imperial Bank, which became the Reserve Bank of India in 1935. After independence, the building was found to be too small to house the central bank of the nation, and a gigantic soviet-style monstrosity was built on the Northwestern corner of Laal Dighi. 
The Alliance Bank of Simla building, while small, is something few banks can claim their headquarters to be. Pretty.

Detail of stucco ornamentation and cast iron grille work
The RBI Building opposite Writers'
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