The Second, and lost bridge, of Saidapet

The right answer to my old question (which, I realise now, could have been phrased better to avoid the ambiguity) is

Coja's endowment There are two bridges on Mount Road, as it leaves the Teynampet/T.Nagar area and comes to Saidapet. The most famous and visibly seen, of course, is the Marmalong bridge built by Coja Petrus Uscano, and which bears the now not-so-visible and badly treated plaque.

The other bridge, and the one that concerns us in this post is the one that was built over a small canal (which subsequently became home to a hutment). A friend showed me this particular bridge and the memorial pillar that marks one end of it, a few years back. I’d since then tried finding out as much as possible. So, here’s what I know. But first, the photos.

Bridge on Saidapet 02

The inscription reads:
“This bridge, erected as a public benefit from a legacy bestowed by Adrian Fourbeck, a merchant of Madras, is a monument useful as lasting of the good citizen’s munificent liberality. It was erected by his executors T. Peling deFries and P. Bodkin from the plan and under the direction of Liet. Col. Pat Ross, chief engineer in the year of our lord…”

There was a little more, but I couldn’t read it. Sorry about that. Bridge on Saidapet 01

So, when I found this ages back, I was intrigued and started hunting. And that’s how I landed upon this book.
Madras Tercenternary Celebration Committee Commemoration Volume, which has a little peripheral information about Pat Ross and the bridge.

In short: the city expanded. The great choultry plain which became Mount Road began acquiring garden houses by the dozen, and the villages of Mambalam was purchased. Now, there was a big lake/tank called “Long Tank” that stretched all the way from Nungambakkam to present day Saidapet, parallel-ing Mount Road. An overflow from the tank cut across Mount Road, and it was over this that the bridge of Adrian Fourbeck was built.

This is all I could find. It’s whetted my appetite. If you’d like to see this little memorial pillar, it’s to your left as you come towards Nandanam, from Guindy. Just before the DSC Hyundai showroom, on Mount Road.

8 Comments so far

  1. Shyam (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 3:42 am

    Good one…

    You might want to post it to S. Muthiah at The Hindu’s Madras Miscellany….

  2. blogkut (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 4:08 am

    thanks for the info

  3. Giridhar (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 8:54 am

    nice piece of information… i really wish government forms a NGO to discover and protect these kind of heritage structures.

  4. Ravi (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

    Wow, thanks Chandra for coming up with yet another great post. I am ever enthusiastic when it comes to knowing about cities’ past and more so about Madras since that is where I stay.

    Its unfortunate that the Long Tank was lost in urbanisation and thereby losing a big water resource. No wonder those areas get inundated during rains. Probably Chennai would not have been so water starved had such water resources (including Cooum and Adyar) been maintained well.

    I second Giridhar on protecting such heritage structures.

  5. Deepak (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 1:33 pm


  6. PlaneMad (unregistered) on December 12th, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

    nice find, sad that such things are hidden from the public and is ultimately forgotten. god knows how many more structures have been buried into the earth

  7. shyam (unregistered) on December 13th, 2007 @ 1:50 am

    I think there is a Tank Bund Road behind T. Nagar B.S. that goes south from Madley road, and a lake view road in W. Mambalam. I always used to wonder why this street has such a strange name, considering that there was no tank or lake visible. Maybe, once upon a time, this road used to border this big lake…

  8. Chandrachoodan (unregistered) on December 15th, 2007 @ 12:27 am

    Shyam (@#1) – Um, What I have written is perhaps already in Roja Muthiah lib. After all, my source for most of these posts is Muthiah.

    Blogkut: Um, you’re welcome, I think.

    Giridhar & Ravi: Thank you. But why should a government protect these? Why don’t we? In any case, INTACH is doing a fairly decent job of conserving heritage buildings in Madras.

    Ravi: Long Tank is something I’ve been interested in for a fairly long time. In fact, Chenthil (another author here on the blog) and I used to chat about it, and search for maps, about the Long Tank. Remind me to blog about it.

    Deepak: Thank you!

    PlaneMad: Yeah. Pity. Though, I am a bit optimistic about these things. Chances are good that people will keep unearthing historical stuff. And because they want to get on the news, will try to bring it the notice of people who can help.

    Shyam (@#7) – Yeah, the Lake View road did lead the Long tank. Thank you.

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