Hongkong & Shanghai Bank - Calcutta - 1922
Cnr Dalhousie Sq South & Council House St, Calcutta.
Built by Martin & Co in 1922 at the cost of 12 lakhs rupees, the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank or 'Hongkers & Shangkers' was one of the major banks in British India, together with the Chartered Bank and the Bank of Bombay. Although a China-based British bank, its first office in India opened in Calcutta in 1867; a second Indian office opened in Bombay two years later. The Bank's senior British staff found themselves at the higher echelons of Calcutta's mercantile community. This building is named "Hongkong House".
It is most likely that the architects were from the Hong Kong-based firm of Palmer & Turner who were to design the Bank's new Head Office along Shanghai's Bund in 1926 (see my photo at www.flickr.com/photos/23268776@N03/2330314221/ ) as well as the Bank's Hong Kong Main Branch in 1935. In fact, the solid architecture of this structure would not look out of place along the Shanghai Bund amongst many of the buildings also designed by Palmer & Turner in the 1920s.