Traditional artisans will rework the intricate carvings, lattice window designs and floral artwork

The iconic KAJ Schmidt Memorial on Elliot’s Beach is all set to get a facelift with Stapathis (traditional artisans) likely to rework the intricate carvings, lattice window designs and floral artwork of the structure shortly.

The Rs. 15-lakh archaeological restoration work of the structure began this week. The work will be completed in three months. “The original colour of the structure is ivory. After de-plastering and re-plastering of the structure, the original colour will be restored. Lime mortar work will be done by traditional artisans,” said T. Satyamurthy, former superintending archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India.

The Chennai Corporation has used the services of contractors experienced in archaeological restoration for this work, which involves strengthening of the foundation, de-plastering, re-plastering and stitching.

“The arch has been erected over two broad pillars. There is a crack at the apex of the arch because of uneven settlement. It is dangerous. So, granite slabs will be used to increase stability of the foundation. The structure is made of brick and lime mortar requiring special craftsmanship,” said an official of Chennai Corporation.

While preparing estimates for the restoration, the Chennai Corporation had sought the help of the Archaeological Survey of India.   

The Chennai Corporation has constructed barricades around the memorial to facilitate the restoration. After restoration, a permanent fence will be built to prevent beach-goers from touching the structure.

“The restoration will help the structure last another 100 years,” said Dr. Satyamurthy.

The memorial built to commemorate the gallantry of a European sailor bears a plaque that dates it to December 30, 1930.

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