Thursday, 29 May 2014

McLeod House, 3, N.S. Road

McLeod House today
Calcutta’s Dalhousie Square is one of the last surviving colonial areas of the world. Due to it’s proximity to the Hooghly river, it developed as a major centre of commerce, and is dotted with heritage buildings, all originally belonging to mercantile houses. Now, whenever Indians think of colonial rule, the vast majority think of English people. But the fact is that an extremely large number of mercantile houses in Calcutta, and indeed all over the world, were run by the Scots. In the Dalhousie Square area may be found evidence of this in the form of Balmer, Lawrie & Co, Gillanders, Arbuthnot & Co, Mackinnon, Mackenzie & Co, Shaw, Wallace & Co and many others. Calcutta’s Scottish connection is not limited to Mercantile houses either. There is a Scottish Cemetery at the crossing of Karaya Road and Acre Road which is the final resting place for more than 1600 of Scotland’s sons and daughters.

McLeod & Co. was founded in 1887 and was one of the largest merchants and agents in Calcutta at the beginning of the twentieth century with interests in tea, coal, rubber, steamer services, indigo and light railways. McLeod House may be found on the Western side of Dalhousie Square, located near the crossing of Council House Street and Hare Street, next to the much more flamboyant Royal Insurance Building. Although the building is not as extensively ornamented as some of the other buildings in the Dalhousie Square area, it is in good condition, and continues to be used as an office today. 

- by Deepanjan Ghosh

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