The centenary block of the Teacher Training College in Saidapet has not been in use for a while, and plans to demolish the building to make way for a new block for the Mother Teresa Women's University have been stalled.
The centenary block of the Teacher Training College in Saidapet which now belongs to the Mother Teresa Women’s University, is effectively hidden by the huge blue enclosures put up by CMRL and, perhaps, the collective amnesia about its hallowed past. Passers-by and those visiting the campus do not remember the last time this Grade I heritage building in the Teacher Training College campus in Saidapet was in use.
Though there were plans to demolish the structure to make way for a new block of the University, this has now been stalled. However, the future of the building still remains uncertain. Despite years of abandonment and dilapidation, the tablet laid by C. Subramaniam, Minister for Education, in 1956 affirms its place in history and its stately architecture still commands a second glance.
According to an official of the Mother Teresa Women’s University Research and Extension Centre, they acquired the building from the Teacher Training College, now called Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, in 1995.
“Once we acquired the building, we used it for five years. But after that, portions of the building began to crumble,” the official said,
The Justice E. Padmanabhan Committee Report too makes note of the poorly maintained condition of this building which, along with several other structures in the Teacher Training College, Saidapet have been declared of Grade I heritage value. “Few of the buildings are maintained fairly while one is in serious deterioration,” it says.
V. Sriram, Convenor, Chennai Chapter, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), however is still hopeful about the fate of the building. “No building is beyond repair unless it has crumbled and fallenIf proper means are employed, and the right expertise is used, there are ways to make these buildings stand because their quality of construction is superior,” he says.
The Teacher Training College, which is one of the oldest teacher training institutes in Asia, started in 1856 as Normal School in Vepery.
The Centenary Building was one of the earliest buildings of the college, which was born out of the first Teachers Training Institution established in India. The college’s first principal was J.T. Fowler and in 1889, it moved to the Model Farm Campus in Saidapet.
The institute’s alumni include eminent personalities such as Srinivasa Sastri, S. Radhakrishnan and Ananthasayanam Iyengar, Lok Sabha’s second speaker.