Interesting Buildings of Chennai

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A heritage building against the setting sun…..

Victoria Public Hall, or the Town Hall, is a historical building in Chennai, named after Victoria, Empress of India. It is one of the finest examples of British architecture in Chennai and was built to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria. It served as a theatre and public assembly room in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. It now houses the South Indian Athletic Association Club.

The hall, an example of the Indo-Saracenic architecture, was designed by Robert Fellowes Chisholm (1840-1915) in the Romanesque style and was built by Namperumal Chetty between 1888 and 1890.

The hall soon become a venue of important public and social events. Several eminent personalities, including Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda, have visited the hall. National leaders like Swami Vivekananda, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Subramaniya Bharathiand Sardar Vallabhai Patel have addressed meetings in the hall. The pioneers of Tamil play, such as Sankaradoss Swamigal and Pammal Sambanda Mudaliar, have staged their plays at the hall.

The building is located on EVR Periyar Salai near Moore Market and between Ripon Building and Chennai Central Railway Station. Constructed with red brick and painted with lime mortar, the rectangular building has an Italianate tower capped by a Travancore-style roof. The ground floor of the building has a built-up area of 13,342 sq ft and the first floor has a built-up area of 12,541 sq ft. The two large halls in the ground and the first floors were built to accommodate 600 persons each, while a wooden gallery in the eastern end has seating arrangement for more than 200 persons. The structure consists of arcaded verandahs along the northern and southern sides in the hall on the first floor supported on sleek Corinthian stone columns, a square tower that is three storeys high, and a carved pyramidal roof. There is also an intricately carved terracotta cornice, which resembles Islamic calligraphy, atop the tower. The hall has four staircases, of which three lead to the hall on the first floor and one to the balcony, and four turrets.

The Trevelyan Fountain, a memorial fountain in the grounds of the hall, was raised to mark the contribution of Charles Trevelyan, Governor of Madras during 1859-1860 and the developer of the People’s Park, towards providing the city with adequate drinking water. On one side of the fountain is a bas relief of Trevelyan’s head.

The cost of construction of the building was Rs 16,425/- (in ~1890)

(Text Source : Wikipedia)

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