Curzon Hall Dhaka
Curzon Hall (pl. 9.1&9.2) is one of a group of buildings that came into existence as a result of the first partition of Bengal in 1905. All of them have a family likeness and aspire to translate in brick and plaster the ideal of grandeur. These were built at the dictation of the British Government and hence the predominating influence is that of Anglo-Indian taste, which is, of course, saturated with those elements of Muslim architecture that were made popular by the Great Mughals. But none of their elegance and lightness of structure is seen in them. These monuments are purely massive in character, to which symmetry of parts and variety in forms has given an added attraction and appeal.
Curzon Hall is the earliest of these buildings. Its foundation was laid on February, 1904, by Lord Curzon himself, when he visited Dhaka on his political mission.
Where once the owl did hoot
The jackal yell,
In thickets dwarf and tall,
There stands today, in state
The splendid Curzon Hall”
It is situated inside a compound, very near Dhaka High Court on Government House Road. In the same compound now stand other buildings appertaining to Science section of the University of Dhaka. Curzon I-Jail is a double-storeyed structure of brick-red colour consisting of a central hail with wings on tI1c east and west. A Continuous verandah runs on all its sides. The building faces north and presents a grand frontage with the central part prominently projecting in a semi-octagonal shape and the elevation relieved with wide arched portals of horse-shoe shape below and windows above. The crowning element is an attractive mass of brickwork, decorated with a row of panels, eves on bracket, and kiosks on the top. The corners are provided with minars, topped with chhatris and the verandahs are screened by a row of arched openings, the arches being horse-shoe in the lower storey and cusped in the second. The wings are varied at the ends, each end having made to contain two sets of room, placed north and south, and further having minars at the corners. The interior of the Curzon Hall is a spacious rectangular hail with galleries on sides in three storeys. These galleries, which are supported on huge piers, have beautiful screens. The building is perfectly symmetrical.
Originally, Curzon I-Jail was meant to be a town hail, but since the annulment of the first partition of Bengal, Dhaka College was housed in its rooms. After the establishment of Dhaka University in 1921, it has been used as part of the Science section, and the main hall as the examination hall as well as convocation hail.