Northbrook Hall

Northbrook Hall Dhaka

Northbrook Hall is situated on the bank of the river Buriganga in Bangla Bazar, and can be approached from Northbrook Hall Road, which is on the old road leading from Dhaka to Narayanganj.

The Hall is named after Lord Northbrook, Governor-General of India between 1872 and 1876, who visited Dhaka in 1874. It was originally meant for a town-hall, but later converted into a public library. Still later a club-house was added to its south cast, and called Johnson Hall. In the early fillies the building was used as a telegraph office. Today Central Women’s College is held there.

Northbrook Hall building is a unique attempt on the part of the local masons to revive the old Mughal style of architecture, but the result has been totally different. At best it is an edifice of European taste, incorporating a few architectural elements that are peculiarly Muslim. The semi-circular horse-shoe arches, the projected bay containing the entrance on the north, the four octagonal minars at the northern salient, the ornamented parapet and the towering pinnacles above, distinguish the Muslim features. The entrance bay has trefoil arch at the outer face with floral patterns at the spandrels, and spirally fluted pilaster supports below that are rather ornamental. It leads into an almost rectangular hall, which has its northern corners cut off to shorten the northern side, in which place we find four salients, each containing a miner. To this hall are attached smaller rooms on the south, which open out into a vaulted verandah, fronted by an entrance porch. The roof of these subsidiary rooms is lower than that of the main hall. From the river side we get a fine view of the graded roofs with pinnacles and ornamented parapets. From the city side the building appears grandiosque and magnificent. The brick-red color of the walls stands out most prominently in the surrounding. [It is unfortunate that new structures have been built in the same premises and surround the heritage building from all sides.]

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