Deepa H Ramakrishnan
CHENNAI: Starting Monday, the Chennai Corporation will commence repair works on the Victoria Public Hall. The work on turrets and wooden staircases that have crumbled will be taken up initially.
The hall has four staircases, of which three lead to the hall on the first floor and one to the balcony, and four turrets.
It was only a couple of days ago that the South India Athletic Association, which was occupying a portion of the hall, vacated the premises.
The civic body has also issued notice to the Andhra Mahila Sabha, functioning from a building behind the hall, asking them to vacate. The building occupies 5 and quarter grounds of land belonging to Victoria Public Hall.
The Sabha has been given time to vacate after which the building will be pulled down, says a senior official of the Chennai Corporation.
Though the civic body took control of the hall from April 1, 2009, it is only now that renovation work is being started. It has cleared shrubs around the building.
Earlier, it had removed 32 shops that had encroached upon land belonging to the hall and erected a short compound wall making the hall more visible.
The Victoria Public Hall, which is an example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, will be restored at a cost of Rs.3.36 crore.
Work on the next stage is expected to begin by February-end and go on for about a year. Constructed with red brick and painted with lime mortar, the hall, constructed in the 1880s, has two large halls on its ground and first floors. The civic body plans to replace damaged wooden floorings and staircases and restore intricate cement carvings. Apart from this the roof with Mangalore tiles will be repaired.
The hall, which was used for public meetings and concerts, will be used for the purpose for which it was designed.