Court

Court

Madgaon [Margão], Goa, India

Equipment and Infrastructures

The building where the Salcette Court now functions has two floors and is arranged around a patio. The main façade faces east towards a small square that at the time was not completely closed, with more spatial and visual connection to the churchyard. Symmetrical with respect to the entrance, it has full-length windows on the second floor and is divided into sections by pilasters. Its language and spatial organisation are similar to what is found in prominent private buildings in Margao or to most urban constructions in Panaji. The building has undergone some changes in the area of the main entrance and inside, among them additions in the patio area. According to Louzada d’Azevedo, it was Manuel de Portugal e Castro (1826-35) who ordered the design and budget provisions for a new council building and public prison. Although period testimony contains some contradictions, various factors serve to indicate that the latter 1841 construction is the building which today houses the Salcette Court, not the old City Council. In the southern view of the city drawn by Lopes Mendes (1864) one can see the Court building with few changes vis-à-vis the building standing today. Tomás Ribeiro (1870) asserts that the Agrarian Chamber and Court functioned in one building, but that it was not the same one as the Prison. He also says that the large two-floor council building was then under construction, but indicates that it did not face the town, which seems to indicate that it was not this building. J.N. da Fonseca (1878) says that the council building was a two-floor building facing east, which means that it might be the construction in question. But the dates he indicates and the circumstance of speaking of two distinct constructions indicate that the latter was the prison building, not the city council. Also, reference to 1882 work on the prison, along with Tomás Ribeiro’s description, leads one to conjecture the possibility of two prisons functioning at the same time in Margao. It is probable that Manuel de Portugal e Castro commissioned the project for a city council and prison. The building’s construction work would only have begun in 1841 and been completed six years later. Perhaps because there was already a building for the City Council, the construction would have been occupied by the Agrarian Chamber, Court and Prison.

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