June 7, 2017

The Grange - Chennai

When the British was in power, many magnificent Garden Houses were built for the Britishers on the banks of the river Adyar in Chennai. Not all those houses still survive. Out of those garden houses that still survive, the Grange is notable one.

The land originally belonged to the temples of Kadari and Kumeswara. Starting from Alanda Narayana Swami Nayak, the land was owned by various people later. Finally, the leading lawyer John Bruce Norton bought this land and built the garden house in 1853 CE. It was named as Norton's Gardens. He had to fight many legal battles to sort out the matters relating to the title of the land.

In 1865 CE, the building was sold to Alexander Mackenzie of Arbuthnot & Co. and it became Mackenzie's Gardens. In 1907 CE, the building was named as The Grange. Sir Murray Hammick stayed there as the tenant. The house which was owned by many was at last owned by P. Venkatachellum, who had around 100 houses in Chennai. At last, it was acquired by the Government in 1917 CE.

This palace like large house is well maintained even today. The huge hall, vast balconies, wooden staircase, decorated windows and the interesting ceiling...the building is a treat to our eyes. It makes us wonder what a royal life lived by all those owners.

Happy travelling.

Acknowledgment - The information provided in this article are gathered from few articles in The Hindu newspaper. One of those articles was written by the historian Shri Muthiah.

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