Built in 1868 on the site of the original Fort William – destroyed by Siraj-ud-Daula in 1756 – the GPO on the west side of the square hides the supposed site of the Black Hole of Calcutta. On a hot June night in 1756, 146 British prisoners were forced by Siraj-ud-Daula’s guards into a tiny chamber with only the smallest of windows for ventilation; most had suffocated to death by the next morning. By all accounts, the guards were unaware of the tragedy unfolding and, on hearing the news, Siraj-ud-Daula was deeply repentant. A memorial to the victims that formerly stood in front of the Writers’ Building was moved in 1940 to the grounds of St John’s Church, south of the GPO.

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