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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 18, january 1-15, 2010

Historic Residences in Chennai - 33

(Sriram V.)

Railway Bungalow
24/136, Sterling Road

The Railways came to India in 1853. The first permanent line in the South was from Royapuram to Arcot which was inaugurated in 1856. Several regional companies were merged in 1908 to form the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Co (M&SM), which covered the northern part of the Madras Presidency. The southern half was with the South Indian Railway (SIR), set up in 1876. Both the railway companies put up magnificent station buildings and, in addition, built some of the most imposing residences for their officials all over the Presidency. Post-Independence, the above railway companies were nationalised and merged to form the Southern Railway which now owns all these bungalows.

In Madras, railway housing for senior officers came up in Mount Road (Rostrevor Gardens), Nungambakkam (Pycroft’s Gardens), Sterling Road (Sterling Gardens) and in the Integral Coach Factory Estate in Perambur. The largest bungalows, now called Kaveri and Bhavani, are on Haddow’s Road. The bungalows were all designed with an entrance portico topped by a verandah on the first floor, a formal drawing room with a wooden floor, and bedrooms located on the periphery of the building with many windows to let in fresh air. After Independence, most of the houses were named after Indian rivers.

The future of these bungalows is in doubt. Many of them in Perambur are in a state of disrepair though the ones in the city are still maintained well. The Railways plan to develop the land in their possession and it is not clear what this implies for the bungalows. – (Courtesy: Kalam­Kriya.)


In this issue

Yet another Committee?
What’s with Madras and heritage conservation?
May 2010 see their conservation
Calming traffic in shopping areas, like Pondy Bazaar
Historic Residences of Chennai - 33
Other stories

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for your Diary


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