January 8, 2018

The Historic GPO Building and the Postal History of Madras

Sending communication through people to other cities or countries was a practice followed for hundreds of years. The Britishers also followed similar kind of service when they started postal service. In Madras, Governor Harrison started using the service of a dak runner to send mails to Bengal in 1736 CE. In 1774 CE, the practice of charging for postal service for private letters started. On 1st June 1786 CE, the first General Post Office was started outside the Sea Gate. The post office was shifted to two different locations. Ultimately, it moved into the current building located on Rajaji Salai in George Town on 26th April 1884 CE.

The splendid GPO building was designed by Chisholm. The two 125 feet tall towers are very attractive. This Indo Saracenic style building was constructed for about ten years between 1874 and 1884 CE. This building is gigantic and occupies around 55,000 sq feet. The red colored exterior looks majestic even today but not the interior of the building anymore. In 2000 CE, there was a major fire accident which gutted down the interior completely.

Happy travelling.

P.S. Thanks to the book "Madras Rediscovered" by S.Muthiah for the dates and few other historical information.

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