Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Anglican Christ Church, Chennai - first ever congregation

n.wikipedia.org
 Chennai city, the capital of Tamil Nadu has many historical old churches within the city limit and Christ Church is one among them, built outside Fort St. George  established by the early East India company's officials.

The Indian converts, in particular, Indo-Britons (often referred to as East Indians, later as Angelo Indians), who were from the  neighboring areas of Narasingapuram, Chintadripet, Pudupet and Royapettah  wanted a church and school built close to them for their spiritual needs, etc. Christ Church, Madras came into being in 1842  with the first congregation of the church and the school outside the Ft. St. George. The place of worship mainly catered to the Anglo Indian community in which the male European lineage  determined  the Anglo-Indian.

 The first congregation took place on Mount road in a building provided by an Englishman Thomas Parker Waller. The adjacent grounds had stables, etc. When a  school came up in another building in the  same place, the young students had to share their space amidst harsh loud cry of horses, coaches. farriers, etc. Waller, after a few years, made up his mind to donate the land for building the church and a school adjacent to it and he thought, his stable, etc won't be a nuisance to them. The then cost of the building was Rs. 12,000.00.  One John Law designed the church and the parishioners began the construction in 1850.

The  Anglican Church with tall-steeple, compound wall, wooden furniture, etc., built at the cost of Rs. 37,000.00 was consecrated in 1852. Later a building came up to run the school. Since then with the growth of school and students'  strength,  additional buildings  had been added.

Tit-Bits:

Adjacent to this place was a social club called SVS - Suguna Vilas Sabha  formed on July 5, 1891. It owed a lot to a great theater personality and "The Founding Father of Tamil Theatre', Pammal Sambanda Mudaliar who, with Sankaradas Swamigal, had 'brought
dignity to it. Earlier the dramas were earthy and long drawn  musicals that would make the audience drowsy.  SVS  functioned till 1936 when it bought  36 grounds next to Christ Church and built its own theater - New Theatre. With the advent of Cinema, theater activities declined. SVS leased out part of its land in mid-1940s to a cinema hall later called Plaza Theater.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Church_Anglo-Indian_Higher_Secondary_School