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Vol. XXX No. 21, March 1-15, 2021

Heritage Watch

Bicentennial of a Lovely Landmark

The Kirk by day

It is not often that we feature a happy story in this column for most of our subjects have either been demolished or are being demolished or await demolition. It is therefore with delight that we congratulate the congregation of the St. Andrew’s Kirk for the magnificent manner in which they have preserved their historic edifice. It is arguably the best maintained heritage structure in the whole of Chennai and may rank among the top ten in India.

The Kirk lit up at night on its 200th anniversary

The great dome

This wonderful landmark completed 200 years on February 25, 2021 and this was commemorated with a grand event at the premises. The event also saw the release of a book titled Celebrating God’s Goodness put together by a committee comprising congregation members. It is a worthy record of the history of the church.

Apart from the fact that it is a venerable marker of our city’s history, the kirk is also an architectural marvel for its foundations rest of terracotta wells, a technique that the architect Thomas Fiott de Havilland learnt from local artisans. It is therefore a celebration of Indian skills as much as it is of a British design.

It is not easy to maintain a church of such lofty proportions, but the members have consistently attended to it so much so that this is one heritage structure of the city that looks better with each passing year. It is surely a lesson to all other owners of heritage edifices in our city on how conservation and preservation can add value.
We at Madras Musings wish the congregation of St Andrew’s the very best and pray that their good work should continue.

The circular pews

The cover of the book

View of the stained glass window

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