Heritage structure was inaugurated in 1913; ground floor to house museum after restoration

Ripon Buildings, the seat of the 426 sq. km. of the Chennai Corporation, will turn 100 on Tuesday.

The heritage building was inaugurated on November 26, 1913 by Viceroy and Governor General Charles Baron Hardinge of Penshurst.

The structure is a fine example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, with a combination of Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian styles.

However, several parts of the building had fallen into disrepair over the years, and in 2009, the Corporation began a strengthening and restoration project.

Project delayed

While a chunk of this work has been completed, and the civic body was hoping to hold a centenary celebration on Tuesday, this plan had to be shelved as some work is still not finished.

Officials said a lack skilled stapathis had led to the work being delayed.

Many labourers left midway after developing skin allergies, and the civic body has been carrying out the work with assistance from a limited number of skilled persons from Panruti.

“Over 80 per cent of the restoration work on Ripon Buildings has been completed. The remainder of the work will be completed in six months. The annexe will also be ready in six months,” said a Corporation official.

Interior work pending

“Another reason for the delay is that lime plastering requires one and a half months to set. We mix lime and sand in a 1:1.125 ratio, with galnut (kadukkai) water and jaggery, for plastering. The work on the northern side of the compound, in the open-to-sky area and some interior work is pending,” said an official.

The ground floor of the building will be converted into a museum after the restoration is complete.

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