Did you know that the present Light House in Marina Beach was first located at Fort’s Museum, Fort St. George. The first lighthouse started functioning in 1796 with a large lantern to facilitate the vessels approaching the port. This lighthouse with the oil wick camp functioned till 1841. Later, the construction of second lighthouse in the compound of present High Court was taken in 1838 and completed in 1840.

The description below the painting of old Light House in High Court Complex, Madras, dated 1844, reveals the interesting fact.

“Chennai does not have a natural harbour. The early European visitors were transferred from their sail-powered ocean liners mid-sea into the catamarans that would coast over the waves till the beach was reached, “ Nanditha Krishnan, Director, The C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation said.

An exhibition of photographs and prints of ‘Old Madras’ is on display at C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, Eldams Road, Alwarpet. The photo expo is organised as part of the Madras Day celebration.

“Every year, we have been collecting new photographs, paintings, and oleographs of old Madras. This year, we have laid emphasis on people and their lifestyles – tax collectors, domestic servants, oil press workers, dancers and tailors.

The photographs and prints have been sourced from British Library in London. The city is 373-years-old, but parts of the city are as old as civilization, while other places are old as the history of Tamil Nadu,” she pointed.

Photos and prints of various interesting places in Madras with detailed information including Senate House and Marina Beach in 1902, Armenian Bridge near St. Thomas Mount, ramparts of Fort St. George in 1792, Customs and Port Authority Buildings, St. Thomas Mount in 1830, and St. Mary’s Church in Fort St. George is on display.

The exhibition is open till September 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Sunday. For details, contact 2433 7023 / 2434 6526.

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