ASI will take up the conservation of Last House on the Left of Snob’s Alley, a grade-I heritage building
Last House on the Left of Snob’s Alley, a grade-I heritage building inside Fort St. George, will soon get a facelift.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to take up conservation work on the structure. According to G. Maheshwari, superintending archaeologist, ASI, Chennai Circle, conservation will be carried out as per the original plan and elevation, using original materials.
“Approval has been sought by the panel of experts for the first phase of work. Traditional materials originally used for the construction of the structure, such as lime mortar, will be used,” she said.
No cement will be utilised. “The wooden rafters and Madras Terrace will be faithful to the original.”
A total of 11 structures within Fort St. George are protected by the ASI. According to the Justice E. Padmanabhan Committee report, Last House on the Left of Snob’s Alley, spanning 4,620 sq. ft., dates to the 18 Century.
The restoration of the colonial building which is situated towards the end of the lane adjacent to St. Mary’s Chruch is being taken up in phases, said Ms. Maheshwari.
“Debris has been removed and the foundation test is complete. We are hoping to finish phase one of the conservation, which includes the south-east corner and parts of the ground floor, by March 2014. Phase-I is being taken up at a cost of Rs. 49 lakh,” said Ms. Maheshwari.
The building has a ground and a first floor, and has not been in use for some years now. “One of the causes for its deterioration is also the salinity in the air,” she said. The structure was earlier with the defence department, she said.
Once complete, one of the suggestions is to turn it into a museum. “The Fort Museum is a British-period museum. We have a lot of antiquities, such as urns from the megalithic period, among others. The structure could house these exhibits and be open to the public,” she said.