Monday, January 11, 2010

From Headquarters to Main Branch

It is said of this building that it bears some similarity of forms with the Mughal buildings of Fatehpur Sikri. That should not be a surprise because the architects of the Indo-Saracenic era borrowed heavily - and in quite a motley fashion - from various building forms across India. In the case of this building, it should be even less surprising because its initial plans were drawn up by Col. Samuel Jacob, who was at that time the Chief Engineer of the then state of Jaipur.

It was built in 1896 as the headquarters of the Bank of Madras, which was one of the three Presidency Banks (the others being those of Bengal and Bombay) at that time. Befitting the stature of the bank, this building cost Rs.300,000, with the contract being executed by Namberumal Chetty. Col. Samuel Jacob's initial designs were modified by Henry Irwin, buthe north Indian influences were allowed to remain. Much of the woodwork and the stained glass in its windows date from the early 1900s. When the State Bank of India was formed in 1955, this building was designated the SBI's Madras Presidency headquarters. Since then, it had become the 'Local Head Office' and today, is just the 'Chennai Main Branch', a title that it continues to hold more out of courtesy!


9 comments:

Hilda said...

I wouldn't have been able to distinguish its different architectural styles. All I know is it's a grand-looking building!

Peter said...

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Shantaram said...

@ Hilda: Not that I can, either - all that education is thanks to a great book on the city's architecture!

@ Peter/Bharath: Will mail you...

Sridhar Joshi said...

Shantaram, you must be a foodie as well. Then, you must try the canteen in the second floor of the SBI Main Branch (or Local Head Office). Great value for money, no frills meals. I simply loved. Check out the report on my blog titled 'Lunch at the bank' at www.sridharjoshi.blogspot.com

Shantaram said...

@ Sridhar: Will find that post - didn't get past the Rail museum one, this time, unfortunately :)

Sridhar Joshi said...

Try here:
http://sridharjoshi.blogspot.com/2007_08_01_archive.html

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P.N. Subramanian said...

demotion!. Yes they have moved their LHO somewhere near Egmore.

Shantaram said...

@PNS: Yes, it is on College Road, now.