Northbrook Hall – Lalkuthi


Northbrook Hall (also Lalkuthi; Red House because of its deep red color) was originally built as a town hall during the British period. It is situated at Farashgonj road in Old Dhaka, on the north bank of the Buriganga River, Bangladesh.

Northbrook Hall Northbrook Hall   Lalkuthi

In 1874 Indian Governor Thomas George Baring, Lord Northbrook, who was the Viceroy of India between 1872 and 1876, came to visit Dhaka. So, to make his visit memorable, Raja Rai Bahadur along with some eminent Zamidars and affluent citizens of Dhaka donated 10 thousand and 5 thousand taka each to build this Town Hall in 1879. Abhay Chandra Das was the secretary of this committee. In 1880, the Commissioner of Dhaka inaugurated it. Moreover, the personal band of Nawab Abdul Ghani was brought to entertain the commissioner and the guests on the day of inauguration.

Lalkuthi Dhaka Northbrook Hall   Lalkuthi

Later, on 8 February, 1882 a public library was added on the south-east side of the Hall. It was named Northbrook Public Library which became highly renowned for its rich literary collection. However, many books were ruined during the 1971 Liberation War. So, to re-establish the library, primarily the Maharaja of Tripura donated 1000 TK, the zamidar of Baliati Brojendro Kumar Roy 1000 TK, Queen Shornomoi 700 TK, Kalikhrishno 500 TK and Bishaishori Devi donated 500 TK. On 1887, the library was opened with only 1000 books which were procured mainly from UK.

Lalkuthi Northbrook Hall   Lalkuthi

A clubhouse was also added to the south-side and called Johnson Hall.At Northbrook Hall,Nobel Laureate Poet Rabindranath Tagore was honored by Dhaka Municipality and the People’s Association on 7th of February,1926. In 1950, the Northbrook Hall was used as telegram office, later as Central Women’s’ College. Afterwards, since this very day this building is a property of Dhaka Municipality Corporation.

Northbrook Hall Lalkuthi Northbrook Hall   Lalkuthi

The Buriganga River could be seen from the Northbrook hall when it was built but unfortunately, by 1930, the riverfront and the river could not be seen any more. The area too lost its importance, beauty and residential character, and was transformed into a commercial area. In 1998, a government education office was built by the side of Northbrook Hall, part of which is now used by a decorator, and a pentagram fountain in front of the north entrance now completely obscures the view.
Lalkuthi Farashgonj Northbrook Hall   Lalkuthi