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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XVIII No. 26, may 1-15, 2009

Historic Residences in Chennai - 17

(Sriram V.)

Poes Garden
2/96, Poes Gardens

This is a very famous area of Chennai, known for its political and business personalities, but Poes Gardens is named after an obscure 19th century merchant or a resident civilian. In the Government records it appears variously as Pugh’s, Pois and Poys, but the correct name appears to be Poe’s, for an 1837 map shows this to be the property of a Mr. Poe. Indeed, it appears that the entire Teynampet area was once called Poe’s Gardens, such being the extent of the property. Earlier, a huge house was built there in 1816 and was occupied by the Anglican Bishops of Madras till at least 1822.

Later, much of this area became Binny’s property by 1921, when the firm acquired for its Managing Director a large house and gardens called Waterton. In the gardens were added Greystoke, Westbourne, Hornton and Halsboro for the other directors. In the 1950s, the rush to build in Adyar began and Binny’s sold the entire area for a sum of Rs. 3.3 lakh and it was divided into residential plots. Among the five bungalows, two have survived, one of which is sketched here. It is not clear what its original name was. From the fact that it now houses a Railway department, it is probably in the possession of the Government. There have been vague talks about converting it into a marriage hall which have not fructified into any action. In the 1960s, ironically, a few society weddings were conducted here.(Courtesy: KalamKriya)

This building is now being demolished, perhaps to make way for a Kalyana Mandapam, after all! The mills of the government grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.


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