Monday, July 28, 2008

A bit of France?

Having posted a few pictures taken from the top of this building (the docks, Esplanade and the High Court), it is time that I revealed the building itself. So here is a shot of Dare House, the corporate headquarters of the Murugappa Group, one of India's oldest and most respected business houses. There was a time 250 years ago, when the French under Thomas Artur, comte de Lally, apparently camped at this site. That was during the siege of Madras in 1758, when the site was used as a base to mount cannon attacks on Fort St. George. But that's not the reason why the location is named 'Parry's Corner'. And it is not a corrupted spelling of the French capital city, either.

The story of Thomas Parry and his businesses, most notably in partenership with John William Dare, and how those businesses came to the family of Dewan Bahadur AM Murugappa Chettiar is far too rich and fascinating to be contained in this post - so I'm not even going to try. While Thomas Parry's name lives on in the name of one of the companies of the Murugappa Group, his partner is remembered in this building.

But all this history does not stop several people from referring to the junction of NSC Bose Road and Rajaji Salai as 'Paris Corner' - or sometimes even insisting that it is 'Paree Corner'!


Viswanathan said...

I thought it was Parry's corner.Remember 37E?

Stevenson Q said...

wow! A very interesting post! I really like the building!

Connections are still unavailable in our house so I am here renting a PC. Thanks so much for visiting and dropping by my blog! I hope everythings doing great there at Chennai! Have a wonderful week!


Eki said...

Congratulations on your 100th post (103rd post now), Shantaram. I've just browsed your blog ... And yes, unlike some of the other photo blogs, your writings/stories are really insightful and help an outsider like me too see the beauty of your city. Congratulations once again.

Shantaram said...

>> Ottayan>> Yes, it is, of course. And sure remember 37E, though as a different 'corner' - it went to Moolakadai!

>> Steven>> Hey, good to see you around. Missing your updates, and hoping that you get back your links soon!

>> Eki>> Thank your for visiting and for your wishes! (BTW, is it okay to address you as Eki?)