The sprawling 12-acre area comprises a colonial building and an annexe

On the otherwise chaotic St. Mark’s Road, Hopeville provides a welcome contrast.

The sprawling 12-acre area comprises an elegant two-storey white structure built in the colonial style as well as an annexe, which now houses the headquarters of the State Bank of India (SBI).

The colonial structure played host to several Residents for a time after 1831, till the post was abolished in 1843.

It was also the place where Commissioner of Mysore territories of the British Sir Mark Cubbon once resided. C.B. Sanders, Judicial Commissioner of Mysore who held charge of Mysore State for a while after Mark Cubbon, too called this building home.

History

Madras Bank (later called the Imperial Bank of India) purchased Hopeville from Charles James Green, a retired Major General of the Madras Army for Rs. 30,000, when it opened its branch in Bangalore in 1864.

In 1955, Imperial Bank of India became the State Bank of India with July 1 being the bank’s Founder’s Day.

Tuscan columns

Situated in the midst of a neatly kept garden, the building is marked by four impressive Tuscan columns and an elegant balcony.

Upon entering the building, one is welcomed by a large portrait of Mark Cubbon, which adorns the northern wall. On the southern side is a painting of the Bangalore Fort, dating back to the 19th Century.

A brass plaque fixed at the centre by the SBI states that the structure was built sometime in the 1800s and was modelled on the Greek Revival style. The plaque reads: “It was built at a time when Bangalore had begun to emerge as the principal garrison town of the British in the State of Mysore in the early 19th century.”

While climbing the staircase, a window with the Union Jack in stained glass grabs attention. On the upper floor, beautifully carved doors of about 12 ft in height open into a huge hall.

Interestingly, the structure also served as a model for buildings such as the Bangalore Club, Balabrooie and Raj Bhavan.

In residence now

Chief General Manager (CGM) of SBI Ashwini Mehra now lives in the historic building. Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Mehra said it had been the residence of the CGM for some time after which it also served as a guesthouse. Subsequently, the former CGM Mahapara Ali who took up residence there made all efforts to protect its heritage quality.

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