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Then and now

Here’s a look at four most important buildings from where the temporary Capital of India functioned...

delhi Updated: Jan 20, 2011 02:37 IST

The Temporary Secretariat

Till 1911, when Calcutta was the Capital of India, the Legislative Council used to meet at the Government House, Calcutta. After the transfer of the Capital to Delhi, the temporary Secretariat building was constructed in 1912. Designed by E. Montague Thomas, the building boasts of a long frontline and two lateral structures. It curves like a crescent moon in the Centre. The first sitting of the Legislative Council was held at the Chamber in Old Secretariat on January 27, 1913. The first convocation of the University of Delhi was also held here on March 26, 1923. The Old Secretariat presently houses Delhi Vidhan Sabha.’s office

A temporary Commander-in-Chief’s office was constructed on Alipur Road. It was supposed to be a temporary structure to be demolished as soon as New Delhi was ready. However, it remained in use over the years. At present, it houses the Indraprastha College . House

The Metcalfe House was constructed around 1835 by Sir Thomas Metcalfe, the Governor-General’s agent at the Imperial Court of the Mughal Emperor and then Commissioner of Delhi from 1835 to 1853. During Metcalfe’s lifetime, the house was the centre of all European social life. It finds a mention in many contemporary writings. It suffered huge damage during the war of 1857. From 1920 to 1926, it hosted sessions of the Council of State, which eventually paved the way for the present-day Rajya Sabha. At present, it houses the office of Defence Scientific Information & Documentation Centre. Viceregal lodge

The Old Viceregal Lodge has an interesting history. In 1803, it served as a camp for the victorious British troops. Later, it became Circuit House. In 1903, it was refurbished for Lord Curzon during the second coronation Durbar for King Edward VII. In 1911, it was once again refurbished for the visit of King George V in case he needed to be shifted from Kingsway Camp for any reason. In 1912, the Circuit House became the temporary Viceregal Lodge. The building was home to five Viceroys — Lord Harding, Lord Chelmsford, Lord Reading, Lord Lytton, Lord Irwin. In 1933, it was handed over to the Delhi University. Renovated a few years ago, it serves as the office of the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.