Saturday, April 5, 2014

Teacher Training College in Saidapet: Heritage Structure Demolished for Metro Rail work

The school building that has been pulled down - Picture Source: The Hindu Dt.
The Teacher Training College is one of the oldest such teacher training institutes in Asia. It was demolished for Metro Rail work - Picture Source: The Hindu

Teacher Training College in Saidapet,  one of the oldest teacher training institutes in Asia,  affirms its place in history. This historic college commenced its educational activity in 1856 as normal school in Vepery, Chennai. The first principal of this college was JT.Fowler, an English scholar. The college moved to Model Farm Campus in Saidapet in 1889. The alumni of this Teacher Training College include S.Radhakrishnan, Srinivasa Sastri and Ananthasayanam Iyengar.

Picture Source: The Hindu
The tablet unveiled at the centenary block of the Teacher Training College in Saidapet, in 1956 by  C. Subramaniam, minister of education, expresses its past. Despite its decrepitude and deserted condition by years,  the centenary building has been taken over by Mother Teresa Women's University in 1995 and was named as Institute of Advanced Studies in Education. It was also in use for five years and once portions of the building began to crumble the University was planning to demolish the structure to make way for new building.

Last year Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) has completely demolished a heritage building in full  – one of the two tier semi-circular brick structure which was exhibiting resplendent colonial architecture  - tall madras roof, arched windows right along its periphery, and reminded us the Ice House at Marina. At present the other buildings are effectively concealed by the vast blue barricade raised by Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL).

It is learned from the  Justice E. Padmanabhan Committee Report that this centenary block  of the  Teacher Training College along with the adjoining buildings were declared as heritage structures and rightly classified as Grade I heritage building. The committee has observed that,  “Few of the buildings are maintained fairly while one is in serious deterioration.” Though the  plan to demolish other structures was stalled by the heritage enthusiasts, the future of the building remains uncertain.  It is also apt to quote the committee's report: “The committee with heavy heart points out that neither the public nor the administration nor the authorities are conscious of the value of maintaining the heritage buildings, places of historic importance or aesthetic value and popular places of worship, which is a disappointment. All of them will have to be educated and informed of the values of such historical and monumental buildings. The administration has to change its attitude on these aspects, by appropriate and stringent measures. The committee members are also pained to note that several heritage and ancient buildings have been brought down by the public as well as the authorities and they continue unabated.”

  1. Two Saidapet colleges  The Hindu CHENNAI, September 12, 2011
  2. Obscured from view and memory, heritage building has murky future, Asha Sridhar. The Hindu CHENNAI, August 13, 2012
  3. Day of demolitions on Anna Salai as the old make way for new Asha Sridhar. The Hindu CHENNAI, May 23, 2013
  4. Metro Rail continues bulldozing heritage  June 7, 2013  
  5. Bulldozing heritage The Hindu CHENNAI, June 10, 2013
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