The Kirk: Georgian landmark restored!

For a year and a half or so, the congregation of St Andrew’s church, fondly referred to as the ‘Kirk’, have been restoring the building, its interiors, exterior and pipe organ to its original condition. Most of the work is now done, and the Kirk looks lovely, with its true beauty brought out by its finish. Here’s a view of the church from the drive as you enter the gates:

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The spire, struck by lightning during the last monsoon so that the clock was damaged, has also been restored and finally painted, and proudly points towards the sky. One can actually climb, via a winding stairway, wooden in places, all the way up the steeple, through the giant, mechanical workings of the clock (don’t go when its striking the hour for goodness’ sake!), and up to a little doorway opening on to a balcony high up. From there the only way up is by a metal ladder attached to the outside and up the steeply sloping side to the very top!

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The side of the church, its roof, doorways are all rich in detail, and have elements of the gracious Corinthian columns that hold up the breathtaking central dome that covers the main body of the church. The massive entry portico is also held up by high Corinthian columns, while the entry itself leads into a vestibule from where you enter the church through a gracious arched doorway.

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The main body of the church has rows of ‘pews’, the wooden benches on which the congregation sits, that are semi-circular, so that everyone faces the altar and the pulpit, and also has a clear view. Lights, speakers and fans are made possible with a carved framework that extends over the pews that are clearly visible in this picture. The church originally had giant ‘fans’- woven coconut screens suspended from the ceiling, and manually moved to and fro to create a breeze!

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The giant pipe organ has also been restored to much of its original deep, rich sound, and is a fitting support to the songs of praise and worship by one of the best choirs in Madras, and of the congregation. An expert had to fly in England and stay for more than a month, and has had to keep coming and working on it, along with a number of dedicated members of the music ministry, to get it in top condition.

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There is still much to be done, and the congregation is working at it step by step to ensure that the Kirk will be one of Madras’ landmarks for many more years to come.

2 Comments so far

  1. Nithya (unregistered) on May 30th, 2006 @ 10:21 pm

    Where is this church?


  2. WA (unregistered) on May 30th, 2006 @ 11:40 pm

    Amazing David, as said in your previous post will definitely make a point of visiting this kirk in Chennai during my next trip. Looks amazing, great pictures



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