Clock Tower of College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai, - renovation will be over by March 2022!!

Guindy Chennai Engineering college clock

Chennai city, Tamil Nadu is one  among the few cities that have  countless colonial monuments and churches of historical value. This also includes colleges - Presidency college (established in October 1840), Queen Mary's college (first women's college in Chennai and the third in India ) and university. University of Madras (established in 1857).. 

Engineering college Chennai.

There is a technical institution in Chennai (Madras) that was established much earlier than the institutions mentioned above. College of Engineering (now is known as  college of Anna Technological and Research University) is the oldest   public engineering college in Chennai, India established  during the East India Company's rule. It is  also Asia's oldest technical institution, founded in 1794. Yet another credit is it was the oldest technical  college established  outside Europe. 

The English company needed lots of surveyors to survey the lands dishonestly  captured  by them and the institution was established on the advice of one Michael Topping. Beginning with just 8 students it functioned in a building close to Ft. St. George on the Marina. Later it was functioning in many places including Chepauk's Kalas Mahal before shifting over to this present place in 1920. The campus came up on a huge plot comprising 223 acres of land in the prime location of the city, - Guindy now closer to the Raj Bhavan. The building was one of the earliest buildings built under the British Crown administration with the termination of oppressive and unjust EIC rule in 1858 after the great rebellion that started off at the Meerut Cantonment (now in Uttar Pradesh).

Madras (Anna) Engineering college, Guindy,

It is a fine colonial brick lime mortar building in Indo-Saracenic style well planned and executed  with high celling and comfortable arched passage ways for easy movement of students during breaks. The impressive features of this heritage building are its red-colored exterior, central clock tower,  corridors to reduce heat and radiation. from out side when the weather is hot. ''The masonry arches, interspersed with stone and brick, are identical''

The clock tower building was wilting due to aging and decision was taken to restore the structure. A sum of Rs 5 crore was allotted and the work was to begin in 2019. by the heritage wing of PWD. The bricks are well exposed  and rough due to weathering. There are four bells of varying sizes  housed inside at top with a concrete water tank below. In the olden days the water tank was designed to supply water to the tower block  when the bells  were rung manually. But today's scenario is different, the water tank  and the brick walls are cracked as a result the roof is  leaky. It leaks more  during the rainy seasons and  the  tower block needs  immediate attention. In the past some repair work was carried out, but the seepage persisted. PWD was supposed to   complete the repair and renovation work  in a period of seven months from the start.   The 27-foot tall tower is the second oldest structure in this city next to Senate House on the Marina (Beach  road). The work for various reasons got delayed and according to the media reports (June 2021) the renovation work was nearing completion and the old iconic clock in the tower would  start ticking as it did in the 1950s and 1960s.

College of Engineering, Guindy, Madras (Chennai)

Above image: A 1994 Postal stamp dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the College of Engineering College, Guindy, Chennai...After 1970s  the College of Engineering, Guindy became a constituent college of Anna Technological and Research University............................

Once the renovation is over and the clock starts clicking; every hour one important ''Thrukkural couplet'' will be played by the clock to  guide the spiritual needs of the students who are either passing out or on the way to the exam halls. A naval  initiative  was taken up during the World Classical Tamil conference held in 2010 at Coimbatore.. But discontinued for various reasons.  By March 2022, it is said, the work will be completed. and  finally the audio recital of Thirukural couplets will be tried.