Wednesday, November 14, 2012
By the 1970s, the only college on College Road was the Women's Christian College. So it was natural for me to assume that the road was named after that institution. However, the road was named so much before 1915, which was when the WCC was founded. Even a century before that, this area housed the College of Fort St George. That was started in 1812, with the singular purpose of teaching the Fort's clerks the languages of south India.
That college was important enough for the Governor of Madras to visit it regularly. Although it sounds rather improbable today, His Excellency could choose to reach the college either by road, or, in a more leisurely fashion, by boat. Yes, the Cooum (to the right of this picture) runs by the college. A clear, silver stream, with the shade of the trees on its banks - who would not like to cruise on such a river!
To receive the Governor, any old gate would not do. And so this arched entry for the Governor's carriage. It certainly adds a touch of class to this part of the road even today, despite some uninspired restoration effort. Only that there is no more a college that is inside these premises - this gateway takes you to the Directorate of Public Instruction and the offices of the Tamil Nadu Textbook Society. Not really the stuff for a governor to pay attention to. And with the median blocking a direct entrance through the arch, one would have to be satisfied with ducking in by a quick turn into the gate!