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Vol. XXVIII No. 23, March 16-31, 2019

Archives: Vol. XXVIII No. 23, March 16-31, 2019



The last year was generally good for heritage structures in the city. After the mayhem caused by the Chennai Metro Rail project in the previous ones, 2018 was relatively peaceful. We have even seen restoration happening on a slew of buildings – Chepauk Palace, several Court structures and the PWD Buildings on the Marina. 2019 promises to be not so good. The Government has just ordered the demolition of the iconic main block of the Women and Children’s Hospital, Egmore.


FSI necessary, but more is needed

by A Special Correspondent

There is an implicit expectation of grandeur when the increase in Floor Space Index (FSI) is spoken of as a changer of the City’s skyline. While it is a right step to utilise the spatial potential of land, a precious resource, FSI being only one of the components of modernising the City, it cannot work by itself.
Relaxed FSI allows more floor space to be built per unit of land. More residential space per unit of area increases housing supply in that locality and leads to a larger number of households living per unit of land – that is, expansion by densification.


Hicky takes on Calcutta

R.V. Rajan continuing the story of Hicky's Bengal Gazette.

(Continued from last fortnight)

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Hicky, Chief Justice Impey, Rev. Kiernander.

Hicky’s Bengal Gazette became a sensation within a few weeks of its launch. Printed on Saturdays, each issue was four pages and cost Re. 1/-, similar in price to newspapers in England at the time. Hicky dedicated the first two or three pages to news and opinion letters; what was left being for advertisements. He encouraged readers to write him letters. He tried to be witty and satirical.


Lost Landmarks of Chennai

A star-crossed venue

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The Hyatt Regency where Abbotsbury was. (Picture by R. Raja Pandiyan.)

Just mention the name Abbotsbury and the eyes of old timers will light up. It reminds them of grand society weddings where the Who’s Who of Madras congregated, the swish of silks, traditional delectable South Indian fare when it came to food, the best of classical music and dance, the glitter of diamonds… and then they will also add that very few of the weddings held at ‘Abatspari’ (as it was referred to in local parlance) lasted. Some add more spice to it by stating that all the unhappiness came about owing to an Abbot who lay buried there, thereby explaining the name and the strong miasma of unhappiness that pervaded it. All fiction of course.


Opening up at last, to fading beauty

(All pictures by R. Raja Pandiyan.)

But can Senate House be year round exhibition space?

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