SBI colonial heritage building Nagapattinam, TN - restored back to old splendor

   SBI  Indian Government owned State bank of India that was formed  in 1955 traces its origin  to the  Presidency banks of colonial period  in the 19th century. Imperial bank which was formed with the merger of all the presidency banks finally was renamed  SBI. 

SBI Nagapattinam branch

The colonial banks were formed then mainly to cater to the needs of the British merchants, British companies, etc. They did serve elite rich Indian natives. During the peak of colonial administration these banks were active and the management had innumerable buildings either built or bought to run their branches to continue their banking operation over a wide area.  Across India today, the State bank of India has the rare distinction of owning about 150 heritage buildings built in Indi-European style and with exception many of them need to be repaired and restored for the posterity.  On 1st July, 1955 the Imperial Bank of India was converted into the State Bank of India by an act of Parliament.

Nagapattinam heritage bldg. I floor verandah.

The Nagapattinam branch of the State bank of India  once functioned in an impressive looking  colonial  heritage building  located almost on the outskirt of the coastal town, Now a district capital. Nagapattinam was once an important small harbor town until 1960s on the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu.

The heritage building with ground floor and first floor owned by the SBI was saved from demolition in the recent past  by restoring it back to old glory.   Typically a colonial villa like building with spacious halls, wide verandahs supported by arches on the ground floor and columns on the first floor, restoration work was carried out with meticulous care including a majestic looking  wooden staircase. With a view to retaining the heritage aspects, the restoration engineers used the age old traditional construction   techniques being practiced in the past in the local area.

 Madras terrace roof was a common feature in the 18th century and this building has Madras terrace roof on the ground floor. The first floor with  Mangalore tiled high ceiling roof and  pitched roof with a conical profile enhances the beauty of this old colonial building. The wooden frame work comprising beams  ridge, common rafters, jack rafters, reapers,  tails or eves  is a good example of fine workmanship of the carpenters and tile work. The verandah is spacious  and covers lots of floor space roughly 50% of providing  a good interface with the outdoor area which features large trees and a pond. These features keep the indoors cool and cut down the sun's glare. On the first floor the wide sweeping veranda with slanting roof is supported by sturdy long wooden raters making provision for eves. The Roof hangs very low to protect the Timber and parapet on the first floor and the walls on the ground floor from heavy rain.  

SBI, Nagapattinam

An important part of restoration was the removal of incongruent concrete constriction that came up later and removal of vegetation, overgrowth of plants, etc. It also included additional construction matching the old structure. The brick walls below the verandah on the ground floor were removed to facilitate cross ventilation which is essential to keep indoors cool during hot summer season. The big arched porch that caved in due to negligence, was rebuilt with old technique. New walls were built in such a way as to match the arches and columns.