Books about Old Madras

Old Madras! What a multitude of associations are called up by the simple words.What curious picture of the past flash before our eyes”

Those are not the words of a nostalgic old man today. That is the opening sentence of the book, Madras in The Olden Times – A history of the Presidency 1639-1702, compiled by J. Talboys Wheeler, Professor at the Madras Presidency College, in the year 1861. Somethings never change I guess.

Google’s Library project has digitized a lot of books from various libraries across the world. On a whim, one day I searched for Madras in Google Books. And felt like a kid in a candy shop. There are tons of books about old Madras, and though most of them offer only snippet views, there were some that offer the entire book. That is how I landed up with the History of the Presidency book mentioned above.

This book is a treasure trove of information about Madras in the initial days.Some of the things I learnt from browsing through the book are

– The East India Company thought that setting up a factory in Madras was not profitable and wanted to censure Francis Day for setting up the city of Madras
– French occupied Santhome as early as 1672
– gifts were sent to Shivaji when he was on his way to attack the Fort of Gingee.

Some of the other interesting books I found through Google Library project are

Life and Times of Thomas Munro

An Analysis of the Experiment in Education made at Egmore, Near Madras

A missionaries narrative in South India, 1820

If you are interested in the history of the City, these diverse books will be of a lot of help to you.

6 Comments so far

  1. Navneeth (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

    W00t! Or should I say Besh Besh? :D Thanks a ton.

  2. Krishna (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 1:42 am

    Good work…

    But more home work is coming on our way…

    It would have been nicer if it wasn’t about the British but general detais about Madras etc.

  3. Murali (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

    Thanks Bud., Should be an interesting read…

  4. Fredrick (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

    Cool dude…Thanks…

  5. Anand (unregistered) on December 17th, 2007 @ 3:04 am

    Fantastic! Honestly can’t thank you enough.

  6. cornish (unregistered) on December 31st, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

    Hello Chennai bloggers,

    I am helping a friend research their ancestry. One of her relatives had a birth place of Cullouhs Guaef, St Thomas’ Mount, Madras in 1870. Does anyone know if this street/place still exists or what it is called now. Grateful for any information. TIA.

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