Left to right: (a) The hall seen from the opposite side of the road, outside University College, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). (b) Looking at the side of the hall, with its gabled porches and row of dormers. (c) A pinnacled buttress where the side adjoins the more colourful frontage with further pinnacles and towers.

Victoria Jubilee Town Hall, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). This was built in a highly ornamented style — a sort of colonial Gothic, with more than a nod to Robert Fellowes Chisholm's Napier Museum of 1880 — to commemorate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. According to the Travancore Almanac, it "was erected by public subscription, largely supplemented by a grant from the Government of His Highness the Maha Rajah of Travancore [the former name of the princely state] as a permanent memorial of the Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen Empress, and was formally opened by His Highness the Maha Rajah on the 25th January 1896" (117). The Maharajah was an enlightened social reformer, responsible for the city's progress in many ways. Unfortunately, no mention is made of the architect or other people involved in the design of the building. But Chisholm had not yet returned to England for good (he did so in 1901) and it is possible that he was consulted here too.

Left: The interior of the hall. Right: The polished and ornately bossed ceiling rafters.

The central hall is very impressive inside. As the Almanac says: "It is completely furnished and fitted with a permanent Stage" — apparently even "Scenery and other Theatrical appliances" were supplied (117). The institution also provided other facilities, such as a library and reading room.

Left: A closer view of the ceiling structure. Right: The arched doorway from inside.

The Victoria Jubilee Town Hall was renovated in 1999 and has since been lovingly maintained. Important addresses have been made here, and it remians a popular venue for public meetings, conferences, exhibitions and performances. It is pleasant to learn from the Hindu article that there was so much resistance to changing its name that the proposal for an alternative name was dropped. However, it is generally known, like so many Indian institutions, simply by its initials: VJT.

Name over the entrance gate, which people declined to change.

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Related Material


Nandakumar, T. "Sentinel of History." The Hindu. 21 February 2003. Web. 24 April 2019.

Travancore Almanac, 1900. Government of Travancore, 1899. Internet Archive. Contributed by Kerala State Library. Web. 24 April 2019.

Last modified 7 May 2019