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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 4, june 1-15, 2009

Historic Residences in Chennai - 19

(Sriram V.)

Hick’s Bungalow
Express Estate, 12, Club House Road

Hick’s Bungalow was the residence of Captain Archibald Patullo who was commandant of the Governor’s Bodyguard. Patullo is remembered by the road in the vicinity named after him. In 1898, the Madras Club, which had come up on the neighbouring property in 1832, acquired Hick’s Bungalow and its gardens. In this vast property, various buildings of the Madras Club were built, all of them fine examples of Palladian architecture.

In the 1940s, a financially weakened Madras Club sold all its land to Ramnath Goenka, founder of the Indian Express group of publications and moved elsewhere. Hick’s Bungalow became Goenka’s residence in Madras for the rest of his life. The Indian Express publications began coming out from this address in 1949 and the property became Express Estates. It was from here that Goenka launched the battle against the Emergency of Indira Gandhi’s government and it was here that he hosted several of the opposition leaders who were supposed to have gone underground to evade arrest.

Goenka’s inheritors did not heed the pleas of conservationists and heritage lovers and decided to pull down the Club buildings to make way for commercial development of the Express Estates. As these lines are being written, several pillars have already come up, heralding a completely new skyline. Hick’s Bungalow, however, survives, as it was the family residence. (Courtesy: Kalam­Kriya.)


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