Tamil Nadu

Calls for restoration of grave of renowned architect Henry Irwin, in Ooty

The grave, in St. Thomas Church in Udhagamandalam, lies neglected, overgrown with weeds and at risk from the elements   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC) has called on the government to restore the grave of Henry Irwin, a renowned British architect who designed the Chennai Central Railway Station, the Connemara Public Library and the Madras High Court, among other iconic buildings across India.

The grave of Mr. Irwin, in St. Thomas Church in Udhagamandalam, lies neglected, overgrown with weeds and at risk from the elements.

Dharmalingam Venugopal, honorary director of the NDC, said that Mr. Irwin, who died in 1922 at the age of 81, was one of the “greatest of the British architects of India.”

“The iconic buildings that he created include the Chennai Central station , the Egmore station, the Southern Railway headquarters, the Madras High Court and the Law Collage, the Connemara Library, the Museum Theatre and Art Gallery, the Victoria Memorial Hall and Bank of Madras,” he said.

Irwin also designed the Viceregal Lodge in Shimla (now the Indian Institute of Advanced Study), the Mysore Palace and the American College in Madurai.

Mr. Irwin’s grave was among a number of nearly 100-year-old graves of important personages from the colonial era that were discovered recently by Mr. Venugopal, who is also credited with discovering the grave of John Sullivan, the founder of the modern Nilgiris as well as that of McIvor, the creator of the Ooty Botanical Garden.

“It is tragic that while several monuments across the country that Henry Irwin created continue to enthral generations of citizens, his grave lies in obscurity and neglect in a corner of Ooty,” said Mr. Venugopal.

The NDC said that Irwin settled in Udhagamandalam after retirement, and that he was an avid punter who loved horse racing. Irwin and his wife are buried in the same church in Udhagamandalam.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 9:09:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/calls-for-restoration-of-grave-of-renowned-architect-henry-irwin-in-ooty/article34317706.ece

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