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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XX No. 4, june 1-15, 2010

Historic Residences in Chennai - 43

(Sriram V.)

Underwood Gardens
3, P.S. Kumaraswami Raja (Greenways) Road

This handsome 19th Century residence is named after John Underwood who was a merchant during the East India Company days. It is at present the residence of the Chief General Manager of the Southern Zone of the State Bank of India. Set in vast gardens in which official quarters for State Bank executives have come up, the house has the river flowing behind it and the garden has a set of steps leading down to the water, reminiscent of a time when the river was not so polluted and was meant for boating.

The Madras Bank was established in 1682/83 in Fort St. George, but the first formal bank to be set up in Madras was the Carnatic Bank which was formed in 1788. The Bank of Madras opened in 1795 and the Asiatic Bank in 1804. In 1843, all these banks were amalgamated to form the Bank of Madras. In 1921, this bank merged with the Bombay and Bengal Banks and became the Imperial Bank. Till 1935, this was the bank that issued currency and monitored the country’s economy. That year, the Reserve Bank of India took over the role. In 1955, the Imperial Bank was nationalised and became the State Bank of India which, today, is the world’s largest bank in terms of the number of branches.

Underwood Gardens, which was Imperial Bank property, was taken over by the SBI and continues to serve the same purpose as it did in the pre-nationalisation days. (Courtesy: KalamKriya.)


In this issue

Road widening is NOT the answer for City’s traffic
River basins, not stretches, should be looked at
Travails of city bus travel
Adyar Poonga gets ready for the public
Historic Residences of Chennai - 43
Other stories

Our Regulars

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


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