Ripon building - chennai in honor of Lord Ripon

Ripon building, Chennai,

Ripon building, Chennai,
Lord Curzon once said  with reference to erecting a public memorial for  Sir Seshadri  Aiyar, Dewan of Mysore in erstwhile princely state of Mysore (now in Karnataka): ''The deeds and services of great men should be honored by erecting public memorial ......''. In the city of Chennai, Tamil  Nadu  there is  a beautiful, historical building in the heart of the  city called Ripon building in honor of Lord Ripon (1827 - 9 July 1909), a popular Viceroy of British India, who in a short period, earned the love and respect of native Indians

Ripon Building, Chennai,TN
The Ripon Building, a three-story  in all-white structure  is located near the busy Central railway station, Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu. Built in an Indo-Saracenic style, it is the seat of Chennai corporation.  Earl of  Minto, the then Viceroy and Governor General of India, laid the foundation on 12 December 1909 and it was  Commissioned in 1913, Ripon Building, designed by G.S.T. Harris,  was named after Lord Ripon, Governor-General of British India and the father of  local self-government.

Lord Ripon by George Frederic Watts,

Ripon building was built by contractor  Loganatha Mudaliyar and he  took more than three years and  Rs 7.5 lakh to complete the project. It was declared open by the then Viceroy and Governor General of India, Charles Hardinge.  The early  corporation building was constructed during the period of Governor Elihu Yale, Madras Presidency. Perhaps many people may not be aware the Madras Corporation is the oldest in India and, it is said, that it is the oldest one in ant part of the Commonwealth outside the Great Britain. Another interesting fact is the Yale university in the USA ,was named after Yale, who made a large donation to that institution. The idea of corporation was put forward by one  Sir Josiah Child, Chairman of the East India company as there was a necessity to have a proper, formal civic administration to tackle the needs of growing population of fort and town in mid 1650s.
Ripon Budling, Chennai. Clock

This beautiful building, rectangular in shape, is 85 meters (279 ft) long and 32 meters (105 ft) wide with 43 meters (141 ft) central tower containing a clock 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in diameter; the clock tower adds another 28 meters to it.  The building has a Westminster Quarter chiming mechanical key-wound clock. This was installed by Oakes and Co. in 1913. Initially the flooring was done in Cuddappah slate, later replaced by marble. Since many parts of the buildings had fallen into disrepair  massive renovation and restoration was initiated in 2012 to preserve this historical building's grandeur and beauty. A special kind of old-style plastering, as done first in the building was to be carried out. This kind of plastering requires one to one and half months to set.
Lime and sand are to be mixed  in a 1:1.125 ratio, with gal-nut (kadukkai) water and jaggery, for plastering. This method was comm0nly used in the by-gone days.
The corporation was inaugurated  on September 29, 1688, when the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses took their  solemn oaths and it was attended by 3000 people - mostly   city's elite. Duration of the Mayor was one year. and he had to be elected by the Aldermen, who were nominated for life  Burgesses, whose number were never to exceed 120, were to elect one of their number to fill any vacancy that might arise among the Aldermen. Subsequently in 1919  designations  in the Mayoral office changed. The Aldermen who had, in course of time, become Commissioners were re-designated as Councillors, term Mayor was changed to  head of  the corporation  and to President. Since 1933 the term Mayor has been in use. Kumararajah M.A. Muthiah Chettiar (Iater Pro Chancellor of Annamalai University, Chidambaram,T.N became the first Mayor in the new set-up. First woman Mayor was charismatic  Mrs.Tara Cherian, wife of former Governor of Madras Dr. Cherian.
An annex building  with a built-up area of 150,000 sq. ft., parking space, etc was built in August 2014 to take care of the needs of various departments


The Fist Corporation - The Hindu, Apr 02, 2003