Delhi: Historic printing press building to undergo conservation

- June 15, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

The structure under the jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has received support from Agha Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) for its renovation.

CLEANING UP: The renovation will include removal of unnecessary biological growth inside and outside the building

Delhi: The historical old printing press building in Chandni Chowk is set to undergo major conservation to give it a new look and attract visitors.

The structure under the jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has received support from Agha Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) for its renovation. The estimated cost of the renovation is Rs 3 crores.

A senior official from MCD’s Heritage Division, familiar with the development, told Patriot that the printing press building will undergo a significant renovation in the coming months.

“We have received a proposal from the trust for renovation work. Currently, we are waiting for Detailed Project Report (DPR) from them and then will proceed accordingly,” the official stated.

The renovation will include maintenance of the terrace.

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“It has got cracks and old paint has been removed. We will fix it,” explained the MCD official.

Furthermore, the facade of the building will also undergo renovation.

“It is in a poor condition filled with rust. We will apply proper coating to avoid its further deterioration,” he added.

Plastering of the ceiling is also on the agenda.

“This will involve lime plastering. Subsequently, white sandstone will be laid to the flooring and this will be followed by paint on the walls,” outlined the official.

Unnecessary biological growth inside and outside the building will be removed.

“Vegetation and small trees have proliferated due to neglect by the department for a long time now. We will remove it permanently,” he affirmed.

Officials said that the building is also struggling with water seepage, which will be fixed.

The press building suffered damage on May 17 as a large section of the roof near the main portico fell just two days before the International Museum Day.

A recent visit by this reporter to the press building revealed that the building is lying in a dilapidated condition. The walls inside the building are filled with rust and cobweb. Windows and its glasses have been broken.

In addition to conservation, MCD aims to transform this building into a municipal museum.

“It will display souvenirs that are over 100 years old, visitors’ books signed by dignitaries during their visit to town hall, artefacts gifted by visitors, old directories, old printed books and printing machines,” the official said.

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The civic body has engaged Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) to develop a municipal museum and conserve rare documents and artefacts.

The original printing press building was constructed before 1917 and demolished later. It was reconstructed in 1940s at the same location. It is said that these printing presses have also been used by the British.

The new printing press is now located at Civil Lines.

There are still old printing press machines in the building. They include ‘The Chandler & Price Co’ from Cleveland in Ohio, purchased in 1926 (England) for Rs 1,200, Wire stitching machine in 1954 (USA) purchased for Rs 3,609, Cylinder Elliot Printing Machine in 1950 for Rs 15,000, Original Perfecta printing machine in 1956 (Germany) for Rs 27,740 and printing machine from ‘Grover Engineering Works’ from Gokulpura, Agra and Victoria Heidenau Printing Machine.

The printing press used to publish municipality documents including annual reports, maps, directories, advertisement and others.

The museum facility is likely to be opened to the public by the end of the year.