Rare photos, artefacts restored by Bengal govt office to be housed in museum: Official

  • | Sunday | 27th November, 2022

Kolkata, Nov 27 (PTI) The treasures tucked away in the storeroom of a West Bengal government office in a secretariat building in Kolkata are likely to find a place in a museum soon as the authorities concerned are planning to set up a repository here, an official said on Sunday.Black and white photographs of a steam-driven tram on the roads of the second city of the British Empire and another of a pontoon bridge which preceded the iconic Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly river among other articles of antiquity are in the possession of the Office of Administrator General and Official Trustee of West Bengal."We are in search of a proper building to store these artefacts. I am in talks with the Calcutta High Court. Hopefully, a decision about the proposed museum will be taken and an announcement to this effect will be made very soon," Biplab Roy, the Administrator General and Official Trustee, told PTI.A certificate issued to Paul Gregory Melitus, the 1880 topper from Bengal Presidency of the coveted ICS examination, an ivory replica of the Holwell Monument, besides a 1919 book on public hygiene written by an Indian doctor during the outbreak of the Spanish flu contagion, are among the treasures discovered and now being carefully restored by the office.Roy said his office is continuing its pursuit to recover antiques lying in different parts of the state."Very recently, we have been given 200 antique rifles from a police station dating back to the 19th century, sharp-edged weapons, a 12th century Vishnu idol from Bagnan in Howrah district and another centuries-old figurine from Khardah in North 24 Parganas district," Roy said.A British-era law dating to 1849 created the office which looks after the property of any citizen who dies without any heir or next of kin. Most of those whose properties came under the administrator’s charge were Britons who died while working or doing business here and had no one who came forward to claim their estate.Many of these antique objects, which include thousands of sepia-tinted photographs dating from the 19th century to the early 20th century along with tonnes of documents and artefacts stashed away in leather folios and trunks were spotted in the storeroom of the administrator general and official trustee and taken up for restoration work, he said."Over 1,000 photos have already been restored and are now in the safe custody of the office but we want to have a proper and permanent place for them where state-of-the-art facilities will be available," Roy said. PTI SUS BDC BDC

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