Monday, March 9, 2009

Last vestiges

In its heyday, this building was the nerve centre of one of the three largest firms in Madras, businesses which gave impetus to the development of the city. Of the three, Parrys continues to do well, both within the Murugappa Group and as Parryware Roca, while Arbuthnot has moved to Kolkatta as Gillanders Arbuthnot. Binny, however, is almost forgotten after the sale of their textile mills; everyone in Chennai older than 20 would certainly have heard of them, even if they hadn't used any of Binny's products. There was a time when Binny's was the only brand for school uniforms and even more so for the khaki used by scouts or the NCC cadets. The mills which made those clothes are giving way to a township that is proposed to be built on that site.

Today, the most visible side of the building is the one on Armenian Street, with the colonnaded verandah of the first floor. But the arrangement of the working hall on the first floor, combined with a staircase that ends at a door opening to Erabalu Chetty Street indicates that the main entrance was on that side of the building once upon a time.

One hopes that this building, which still houses the offices of Binny Ltd does not suffer the same fate as its brother, the textile mill!


Lowell said...

I agree. To lose that beautiful building would be a shame. It's interesting how time makes ancient good uncouth - to quote from an old hymn...but change is everlasting and time moves on and what was is no more; in fact it's as if it never was.

Shantaram said...

@ Jacob: Hopefully it will not be lost; it is also interesting that sometimes, today's eyesores become tomorrow's wonders!