Diminishing Flavour of British Mock Tudor Architecture in Shimla
Diminishing Flavour of British Mock Tudor Architecture in Shimla is worth a concern. If you take bird eye view of Shimla you will find nearly 12 flairs of architecture scattered around. They make Shimla look like a museum of architecture that includes Mock Tudor, Victorian, Post Victoran, Gothic, Neo Gothic, Bavarian, Baronial, Scottish, Georgian, Lyuten’s, and of course Hill architecture or the local architecture. The most dominating of them is the Mock Tudor style of architecture. This style of architecture had flourished a lot in England during the time period of Tudor dynasty (1485 – 1603).
Many buildings are there in Shimla representing this style. The best one is Barnes’s Court, now used as the official residence of the Governor of Himachal Pradesh. Most building at the Mall Road starting from Himani Restaurant and extending towards the Telegraph office are also built on this style.
The building of the Municipal Corporation is another good example of Mock Tudor architecture. And perhaps one of the most clicked building of Mock Tudor architecture is the building of the State Library, just next to the Christ Church. Other buildings are the Chhota Shimla Post Office, General Post Office at the Mall, the Post office in Chaura Maidan, the building of State Bank of India and the entrance gates of the Viceregal Lodge – commonly known as Gurkha Gate.
In this style, the lower floor of the building is made of dressed stone whereas entirely a different style is adopted to erect the upper floor. A wooden frame is prepared using square cut long timber bars. Then the wooden planks are placed from corner to corner leaving space in between that is followed by filling the space with stone or bricks.
Further it is covered with clay plaster. The wooden frame remains exposed and painted generally black. The doors generally open inside and the windows remain exposed too reflecting on the entire structure. The rooftop is always slanted to prevent the rain water to enter the building and is covered by corrugated metal sheets.
What are we doing to protect this heritage?
Shimla is known for its British time architecture. Whatever we may say but the British officers actually carved this lively town out of the forests without making any damage to nature. They promised the local dynasties that they would not chop trees to create space for their houses and still decorated the town with amazing designs of edifices.
Our most prominent structures have already become the stories of past. Some of the best examples are Kennedy House, Peterhof, Walker’s Hospital, Wild Flower Hall, Snowdon Hospital – then a dispensary, Regal Cinema and now Gorton Castle. In last sixty five years of independence we have already suffered a great loss of Heritage. The most beautiful houses those held amazing stories in their bosom are gone now.
Are we doing enough?