Cuddon (Gove) building, Chennai - a heritage structure built to display motor vehicles

built in 1916. Cuddon (Gove) building, Chennai.Travelogue

Among the colonial buildings in Madras (Chennai), the Gove building (earlier known as Cuddon Building) is a unique and graceful one because it was built to be used as a car show room for Simpson and Company based in Madras.  Various models of luxury cars were on display here, in particular, Mercedes-Benz. Built in 1916 in  Indo-Saracenic style, this ornate  double-storied  commercial  building was   designed and constructed by Cuddon  merely to display  expensive cars imported by the Simpson company
Made of  green and white stone, locally quarried near Madras, it has  90 frontage on the main road. The imported items  from England included Plate-glass windows, 18 feet in length, a special kind of door, shutters, and sun-blinds. The floor was  laid in Italian marble 

In those days there was a necessity to have a fine show room in a prime area  for luxury cars. Considered the "finest showroom in India, Cuddon Motors had a show room on the ground floor and  an office space on the first floor. Surprisingly, the access  to the upper floor was through the stairway outside the building on the side.  Named in 1943, it is still being used  for the same purpose. After 1920s, private ownership of vehicles had begun to show upward mobility and the crux of the matter was only very rich could afford them. 

built in 1916.Cuddon (Gove) building, Chennai

Cuddon (Gove) building, Chennai Age Fotostock

The name Cuddon building had close link with  George Cuddon of Simpson Company,  his employer, George Underhill Cuddon, a Scotsman  joined Simpson’s as an Assistant in 1890 and headed the firm from 1898 till his death in March 1916,. He died  a month before his dream building was opened. 

With Simpson winding down his motor business,  the building came up for sale and  in 1943  one V.S. Thiruvengadaswamy (VST) Mudaliar bought it and renamed it as Gove Building.  VST Motors being a well-known  automobile company, concentrating on vehicle dealership of branded companies and other auto related part still uses this historical building located on Mount Road.  In 2016, the building completed its first centenary.

.Cuddon building tower , Chennai.

The subsidiary company of VST Motors, VST Titanium Motors, is running  Mercedes-Benz dealership in this building. So, the traditional  nostalgic link between this building with fine stone columns and the luxury cars continue unabated. The company made some changes inside the building and never touched the outer part to retain its heritage value.