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John Hall to get a makeover as govt plans to develop it as cultural centre

The PMU, which has been established in collaboration with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) and Department of Industries, government of Haryana, will be releasing the survey report next month.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 27, 2019 08:18 IST
Sadia Akhtar
Sadia Akhtar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
renovation,gurugram city renovation,gurugra urban body polls
John Hall, at Civil Lines, near DC residence, in Gurugram will be renovated soon. (HTphotos)

Situated in Civil Lines area of the city, 94-year-old John Hall is expected to get a makeover with the Haryana CSR advisory board (HCSRAB) initiating a needs assessment survey to tap the heritage potential of the historical site. A project management unit (PMU) of the HCSRAB is spearheading the project that seeks to establish the importance of the structure in the historical as well as modern setting of the city.

The PMU, which has been established in collaboration with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) and Department of Industries, government of Haryana, will be releasing the survey report next month.

John Hall is a colonial structure and was built in 1925 in the memory of John Goble Brayne, who was the second son of FL Brayne, deputy commissioner of erstwhile Gurgaon. Born on January 6, 1882, FL Brayne was an administrator in the Indian Civil Service during the British reign. Brayne took charge of Gurgaon, at a time when the area was suffering from influenza epidemic and a failed monsoon.

Listed as one of the places of interest on the Haryana tourism website, John Hall occupies an important place in the administrative functioning of the city now.

“Gurgaon was merely a village till 1819. Later, when Gurgaon was converted into a district, an ICS British officer, FL Brayne was posted as deputy commissioner. His second son, John Goble Brayne, died at an early age and this grand hall was built in his memory. It was later renamed as Agricultural Hall and used for holding meetings and functions (sic),” mentions the description on the website.

As of today, the structure is used by the government for holding meetings and is opened only for official purposes. On most other days, the place remains locked. Gaurav Singh, additional chief executive officer and regional head of HCSRAB (Gurugram region), said that a needs assessment survey was being carried out to find the best utility of the heritage place.

“We are doing a needs assessment survey wherein we are trying to find out how we can utilise the historical structure in the best possible way. After the completion of the survey, we will conserve it as a heritage structure. We plan to turn it into a cultural centre,” said Singh.

Garima Dadhich, chief executive officer, PMU, said that the initiative was aiming for an adaptive re-use of the site. “In Gurugram, there are a few historical or heritage sites. We are conducting the study and analysing John Hall from every respect to come to a conclusion where we can recommend that what is the best utilisation of this historical building,” said Dadhich.

She said that multiple options were being considered to strengthen the cultural heritage of the place. “Gurugram has a rich history and we are trying to see how meticulously we can use the place: either as an art gallery or a historical monument through which we can narrate the past through the usage of the light and sound show,” she said.

The Haryana government last year constituted the corporate social responsibility (CSR) advisory board for guidance and review of the CSR activities in the state and to encourage collaboration between CSR stakeholders in businesses, government and civil society. This would help create and improve the public infrastructure for the welfare of citizens, the government said.

First Published: Jun 27, 2019 04:20 IST