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St Andrew's Church, Calcutta

Images provided by James Simpson and All



St Andrew’s Church, Calcutta, is a fine late Georgian church with a prominent spire in the centre of the city. Its design, derived from that of James Gibbs’ St Martin in the Fields, is close to that of the Edinburgh churches of North Leith and St Andrew’s, George Street. It fronts Dalhousie Square in the centre of the city and is adjacent to the Writer’s Building, seat of the Government of West Bengal. It was built for the city’s Church of Scotland congregation in 1818 and retains a small but robust congregation, drawn largely from the Anglo-Indian community, which retains a prominent role in the life of the city. While it is now part of the Church of North India, ownership of the building is vested in its own Kirk Session and Congregational Board.


The building is badly in need of major roof repairs. Its original roof was renewed in the mid 20thC in a way which has proved to be increasingly unsatisfactory and difficult to maintain. Substantial renewal has therefore become necessary. Since it will not be possible to complete the work between monsoons, which bring heavy rains between June and October every year, a temporary roof will be required to provide protection both from the rains and from the summer sun. The proposed temporary roof is economically designed on the basis of an innovative large-span structure of treated bamboo. It is hoped that this can be erected before the start of the next monsoon in June 2019 and that the new roof can be completed by the end of 2020, or before the 2021 monsoon.


The Trust is also assisting the Kirk Session with advice in relation to a new metro line which is being constructed at depth in the street between the church and the Writers Building.

Exterior images

Interior images

Detail images

Site Plan

The following images are from a preliminary visual inspection carried out on the 10th August 2016 by Alleya and Associates, Calutta with the support if the Asia Scotland Trust.

Floor Plan

Roof Plan


Proposal Sketch

1. Replace the asbestos with corrugated G.I. sheets and FRP sheets (to let in light)


2. Install a mechanical ventilation system and lights to improve working conditions


3. Design a new gutter/water collection system well above the existing one - designed for taking work related traffic


4. Puncture the parapet at intervals to let rainwater out, along with fresh down-takes and overflow mechanism


5. Support working platforms (bamboo?) on the bottom member of the existing truss


6. Install a system of safety nets and harness system for the main work


7. Install the new roof system in the space below the bottom member and the old cornice


8. Repair and restore the cornice


9. Repair and restore the false ceiling


10 remove the existing truss and temporary, new gutters


11. Finish the new roof with final gutters, down takes, overflows, and solar panels.

Proposal A

The renderings to the right illustrate how different the two design options might look . These are not final designs. Images A1 and A2 show a system where support for the temporary roof is taken primarily from the ground without touching the Church structure.

Proposal B

B1 and B2 are renders from a system in which the temporary roof is supported on the building itself, thereby reducing the quantity material and time that would be required for the roof to go up.


The decision to choose between these two options will precede design and testing of the trusses, as the details and set up or the test would be different. It would also be in some ways linked to the design of the permanent roof as we would need to ensure that the support conditions we create for the temporary roof does not interfere with the construction of the permanent roof.

The Asia Scotland Trust is a registered Scottish charity. Scottish Charity No. SCO45273. Companies House No. SC464144

© Asia Scotland Trust 2019