Saturday, 21 October 2017

Green House, Cuddalore where Robert Clive lived briefly

Cuddalore a coastal town in Tamil Nadu  gained popularity as an  an important centre of trade and military activity in the first half of the 18th Century and is close to Pondicherry, once a French settlement. During the governorship of Yale ( of Yale University fame), Ft. David became well fortified to  defend French advances, however, it was razed to the ground in 1756 and the English got it back from the French in 1785.

Clive house, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.
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 The Green House, a beautiful mansion built on a land of 7.5 acres in Manjakuppam, near Cuddalore is a historical place where Robert Clive lived temporarily in 1756. Built in 1702 on the site of an earlier building, also called "Garden House", it is steeped in history.  In the 18th century, there were many clashes between the French and British forces over the control of land and trade. Decades later, this building became Collector's residence.

 This historical site was in a state of neglect for a pretty long time. The ground floor that was used as Collector's office became so weak,  the roof  fell down in 1984.  Later a new Collector office building came up in 1993 adjacent to the Green House. The old building has four impressive stairways at the four corners, leading to the first floor and  a banquet hall for parties and dances that were common during the colonial period. . The PWD engineers took care of the restoration of the old structure. The wooden beams were beyond repair and were  replaced by concrete beams. The dinning rooms on the first floor were undergoing changes. The building does have a room made of concrete built in the 1980s and is in contrary to the heritage character of the building.

Garden House, Cuddalore www.exploremytrip.com

 Above image: The "Garden House" was the official residence of the Cuddalore District Collector, Robert Clive; it is an example of medieval architecture. The roof of the Garden House was built using just bricks and slaked lime and no steel and wood.................... 

The site was surrounded by backwaters and Clive had to use a boat to travel all the way to Devanampatnam, where the British business iactivities flourished and then back to the Green House, his official residence after a day's hard work.  It is said that the restoration was done not according to old style and the present features, do not match the original features of the Green House. Engineers complained that  with limited funds, they had to carry on the major repair work, sticking to the old features as much as they could.

Tit-Bits:

01. It is said that while in Cuddalore  Robert Clive, on Sundays, used to visit a church on the premises of  St. David School. The headmaster's residence in this school, a nearly 300-year-old structure,  is wilting under age and negligence and needs urgent repairs.  The churchyard has tombstones of the officers of the East India Company and their wives

02. The building was constructed at a cost of Rs. 27,429.00 in 1702. An old   hospital built during those days still serves the town.

03. Robert Clive, being rebellious and unruly, never showed any promise as a bright child. But, destiny was kind to him when he grew up. He was destined to become the earliest British commander/ administrator  to lay the first layer of foundation stones of what was to become the most powerful and huge land in the globe  called British Empire that never saw the-sunset. As he grew up  in stature and eminence, equally he became too conceit and corrupt  that had cast a shadow on his good deeds and achievements.  Upon his final return to England, he had to face charges of corruption as the wealth he amassed in india  was not in proportion  with his salary, etc. At stake was his name and dignity.  Disgusted as he was, he ended his own life finally, having made a few futile attempts before. Why this depression? .  His life is a good example of Thomas Gray's poem, "Elegy written in a country churchyard"

 "The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
         And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
         The paths of glory lead but to the grave".


Clive's greed, over ambition  and craze for materialistic life led him to the grave at an early age when he was just  around 50 years old.

http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2005/02/13/stories/2005021300260700.html The house of Clive