Named after the King William III of England / Ireland and II of Scotland, the fort was built in 1781 by Robert Clive after the battle of Plassey. This octagonal and star shaped fort is located on the eastern banks of the river Hoogly.
The structure of the fort is designed so that to hold any cannon attacks. Although built as military fort, it was never used for firing any shot.
There are two Fort Williams. The original was built in 1696 by the British East India Company under the supervision of John Goldsborough. Sir Charles Eyre started construction near the bank of the River Hooghly with the South-East Bastion and the adjacent walls. It was named after King William III in 1700. John Beard, his successor, added the North-East Bastion in 1701, and in 1702 started the construction of the Government House (Factory) at the centre of the fort. Construction ended in 1706. The original building had two stories and projecting wings. An internal guard room became the Black Hole of Calcutta.
Robert Clive started rebuilding the fort in 1758, after the Battle of Plassey (1757); construction was completed in 1781 at a cost of approximately two million pounds. The area around the Fort was cleared, and the Maidan became “the Lungs of Kolkata”. It stretches for around 3 km in the north-south direction and is around 1 km wide. Fort William is one of Kolkata’s most enduring Raj era edifice. This is a fort of stupendous dimensions and is spread over an area of 70.9 hectares.