|2nd lighthouse 1834. www.destinationinfinity.org|
|1892 old lighthouse and a new one on HC tower. www.unc.edu|
A simple lighthouse with a lamp was fixed nine feet above
|Port trust 1858. Chennai Metblogs|
|renovation.2nd lighthouse 1834,/www.deccanchronicle.com/|
Fort St. George was built in a convenient location near the seashore at Chennapatnam (Madras) because of easy access to the incoming and outgoing ships. Outside the fort, there lay a vast land between the fort and Black town (the name does not carry a racial slur) west of Fort St. It was more or less like an esplanade so that the British could get a good open firing range in the case of war.
After the fire accident that destroyed a couple of Hindu temples in the 1760s in the busy area outside the fort, soon the colonial government did not wait for a long time and took over the vast land. Of course, they gave funds to have the lost temples built near the Flower Bazaar. That the fire mishap was accidental or the handiwork of the British is a moot question and it is debatable.
By 1837, the number of ships anchoring off the First Line Beach increased and the lighthouse had to be shifted to a more convenient place. Building a much taller lighthouse gained currency among the company officials to tackle the safe arrival of incoming ships to the harbor. Further, in the monsoon season, the sea would become rough and this would put the cargo and passenger ships on the high seas at risk. So, based on a decision taken by the EIC officials, a new lighthouse came up on the land where the temples existed. The 120-feet-tall, ornamental Doric column in the High Court complex is the city’s second lighthouse that predates the Madras High court building. In 1841, Captain J.E. Smith designed the second lighthouse. Then the tower was tall enough to guide the ships on the high seas. The lighthouse was successfully operated from 1838 to 1844. Since electricity was not heard of, firewood was used widely earlier to provide light at the top of the structure to produce powerful beam / light.
This second Madras lighthouse in the High Court complex is not functioning and is being maintained by the Department of Archaeology, as a protected monument. Until 1970, the lighhouse atop the ornate dome of the Madaras Hight Court served as a beacon to the sailorsA new modern lighthouse has been in service since 1970 on the marina beach.