History of Historical Building and Monuments in and around Chennai Dr. G. Venkataraman Chairperson, School of Historical Studies HOD of the Dept. of Indian History, University of Madras, Prof. A. Anne Shanthi Ph.D., Research scholar, Dept. of History, IDE, University of Madras.
As you all know every building has its own History and like wise the Public buildings built by the British in Chennai City has now become historical monuments worthy of study. Since it has survived for 100 years it has good claim to be called historical monument. Beautiful buildings like Spencers and Moore Market cannot be rebuilt. Thanks to the effort taken by the INTACH, Government and other Non Government bodies that the Senate House is back in form. There are many buildings like the Royapuram, Railway Station, National Art Gallery, Bharat Insurance building, Chepauk Palace Presidency College, Ripon building, Government Fine Arts College etc, that cry for restoration. It is up to the Government to restore these buildings to its former glory and it is the duty of the Citizen to see that no damage is done to these buildings. In this paper I have listed a brief history of the Historical Buildings in and around Chennai in a chronological order. All the Buildings were designed by British Architects who served as Consulting Architects to the British Government. I have arranged it in the following order – Name of the building, period of construction, Name of the Architect, Design / style of the building, Present condition and the last unit is a comparative study of similar buildings in other British presidency towns.
Memorial Hall – 1860 As thanks giving to God for saving Madras from the Revolt of 1857 Designed by Colonel George Winscom and modified by Col. Horsley Classical style with Greek Overtones. Resembles temples in Greece. It is purer in form. Traces of deterioration. Now used for film shootings and sales. Hall if maintained well can be used for social gathering and conducting Lectures. Memorial Hall in Quetta was designed in 1905 by James Ransome in Indo – Saracenic. Victoria Memorial Hall in Calcutta was designed by Vincent Esch in1880 123
Madras Museum - 1862 To Preserve Geological specimen and archaeological artifacts Designed by Herny Irwin in Indo scenic style It is maintained well but several additions have taken place. The front view remains untouched. Prince of Wales Museum (Bombay) 1904 was designed by George Wittet. It has mixed element of Hindu Brackets. Mughal arches and European classical design. Indian Museum (Calculta) 1875) Italianate style and classical style. Victoria and Albert Museum, Bombay 1862, Palladian work designed by William Tracey. Napier Museum Thiruvananthapuram by chisholm in Keralite and British Style.
Public works Department 1865 Robert F. Chisholm Pure Saracenic style. The front facade has not changed but additions have spoilt the beauty of the building. Regular maintenance can prolong the life of the building. Bombay PWD building was built by Henry St. Clair Wilkins in 1869.
Board of Revenue – 1768 The first building was constructed in by Paul Benfield Later additions were done in 1870. by Robert F Chisholm It has a mixture of tropical Gothic and Indo Saracenic style. Consist of two blocks Humayan Mahal and Khalsa Mahal Humayan Mahal - close to Wallajab Road, and Khalsa Mahal facing the beach road. The building though in constant use still it lacks maintenance. The authorities concerned should take steps to prevent it from deterioration. 124
Post and Telegraph office – 1884 Designed by Robert F. Chisholm Saracenic style with projecting eaves in stone as in Bijapur. Arches and columns as in Gujarat. Inspite of fire accident it still remained to be a landmark. Though in use it needs proper maintenance by regular inspection. John Beg in 1909 designed Bombay Post Office in the style that existed in Bijapur Calculta G.P.O built in 1864 was designed by Walter Granville in...