Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The second lighthouse

If you think the column in the foreground is a completely un-functional piece of work, you would probably be right. The major functional element of this column used to be what was on top of it; 120 feet above the ground was housed the arrangement of Argand Lamps and reflectors, supplied by Chance Brothers of Birmingham, flashing signals to the traffic on the Madras Roads.

Much taller than its predecessor on top of the Fort Museum, this Doric column lighthouse was designed by Capt J.E.Smith. It took about 6 years to build it and it became fully operational in 1844, although it was in intermittent use as early as 1841. The column was placed in the Esplanade, outside the walls of Fort St George. A photograph taken circa 1855 shows the lighthouse with its crown; a crown that was given up to the city's third lighthouse in 1894!


Last Chance said...

Regarding your comment on the web site ("Was researching about Chennai (Madras)’s lighthouses for my blog...") I might be able to help a little.

My own web site is which explores the domestic glassware made by Chance Brothers, but I am now continuing research into the company's entire history from 1824-1981 for my next book, Chance Reflections.

Currently I have access to the archives, although these are vast - about 30cu.m! But at some time I will discover which lighthouses the company developed, and for which countries. However, your one statement about the lighthouse being developed in 1841 would preclude Chance as instigators, as it did not start optical glass production until 1849, and lighthouse from 1851.

Also, your link to Chance Glass Ltd in Malvern is a little misleading as this was merely the optical and tubing division of the original company, but which still continues today. The original company of Chance Brothers Ltd closed in 1981, but stopped lighthouse development in 1953.

Hope this helps.

David Encill

Shantaram said...

@ David: Thank you for your detailed response - much appreciated! As you'd have noticed, I've been a little behind on this blog. I will follow through on the information I had and correct errors (though not sure when I'd actually get around to doing it!)