Initially, EIR started working from an office in 29, Theatre Road at the time of Rowland Mcdonald Stephenson, the Agent, until the office was shifted to its present location at Fairlie Place in 1879. The earliest reference of Fairlie Place dates back to a map of 1794 where it figures “as a passage without name leading to the Old Fort ghat”.
Fort William was built in 1773 and the British abandoned the old fort, situated to the west of Writers’ Building – the provincial state administrative head quarters. The road leading to the river to the north of the old fort was renamed Fairlie Place after William Fairlie, a distinguished Calcutta merchant of the firm Fairlie, Gilmone & Co. bagged the contract for supplying and feeding elephants and camels for the service in army in Bengal presidency at the time of Lord Welleslie. William Fairlie’s name, incidentally, appears frequently in the Calcutta Gazette as one of the “gentlemen of the grand jury”.
Prior to being occupied by E.I.R. this building housed Indian National Museum, Calcutta temporarily for about two years. EIR acquired the property and set up a booking office there. It was called the Fairlie Place booking office.
|Brass plate marking the North-West boundary of old Fort William||Partially buried Canon at the Fairlie Place corner|
Completed in 1884, the names of the main towns connected by EIR were engraved in the corner arches of the first floor of the building which exists to this day. A brass strip marking the outer most boundary of the North-West corner of the old fort complex and a partially buried barrel of a canon in the north-western corner is also in existence in Fairlie Place.
Sometime later, EIR acquired the entire area covering the northern part of the old fort and built their headquarters office with the main entrance towards Writers’ Building. The name Fairlie Place stuck and EIR’s main office came to be known as ‘Fairlie Place’ and continues to be the Eastern Railway head quarters.
Fairlie Place – the Head Quarters of Eastern Railway