Lahore's Bradlaugh Hall to regain lost grandeur

Published April 8, 2022
This image shows Bradlaugh Hall.
This image shows Bradlaugh Hall.

LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) and the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) have joined hands to restore the original façade, internal and external portions and other constructions of the old building of Bradlaugh Hall.

Built, reportedly, in 1893 during the British era at Lahore’s Rattigan Road in the memory of a British member of parliament, Charles Bradlaugh, it was founded by former Indian National Congress president Surendra Nath Banerji. The hall was converted into a technical school after the Partition of India and was renamed the National Technical Institute.

“Since 1997, the building was closed due to its dilapidated condition. But the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between WCLA and ETPB will restore the historical building of this hall,” ETPB Board chairman Dr Amir Ahmad said while presiding over the board meeting on Thursday.

He said under the MoU, the WCLA would provide funding for restoration of the hall owned by the ETPB. “The core objective of the MoU is to restore this historical building as well as promote tourism activities at Walled City and its adjoining areas.”

“The ETPB shall be liable to hand over possession of the hall to WCLA. The WCLA after taking over possession would be liable to commence the restoration activities at the site with its own expenses.

“The time period for the restoration of the building shall commence from from the date of signature by both the parties. However, the completion time frame for the work would be two years. After completion of works, the WCLA would hand over possession of the restored building to the ETPB.

“The WCLA and the ETPB would evolve a mechanism of use and further prospects jointly. The operative terms and conditions shall be finalised with ETPB,” reads the MoU.

It mentions that in case of any dispute arising out of the provisions of MoU or relating to the interpretation thereof, with the WCLA, the same shall be referred to the ETPB chairman as sole arbitrator whose decision shall be final and binding on both the parties and shall not be challenged in any court of law.

The title and ownership of the hall shall remain vested with the ETPB board and NOC (if any) required in execution with the works shall be responsibility of the WCLA.

“The parties will enter into a formal agreement in this regard and agree to execute other ancillary documents in line with the terms and conditions herein as early as possible,” the MoU signed by both the parties on Thursday concludes.

An ETPB officer told Dawn Bradlaugh was member of the British parliament and belonged to Labour Party. “He was in favour of the independence of the this subcontinent. The place served as main venue for political activities by the Congress and other political parties,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2022

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