CHENNAI: The building that is now Triplicane police station on Wallajah Road, off Anna Salai, has been declared a heritage structure by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is among the oldest police stations in the city. Inaugurated in 1890, the building turned 125 this year. But, the renovation has neither anything to do with this anniversary, nor is there going to be any revelry.
“The repair work for the building is being carried out by the Tamil Nadu Police Housing Board,” said a senior police officer. The heritage of the building is not a matter of concern to the personnel at the station. “This is a very old building with leaks and cracks. They are working to repair it,” a policeman at the station told Express, acknowledging its heritage.
Empty paint cans and masonry tools are stacked on the corridor of the police station. A lone labourer scrapes the dust off the worn out bricks atop the red and white building. Renovation work is underway and a part of the station’s facade shows a fresh coat of red and white.
A lone plaque displaying the year it was built is seen on the facade. At the time, Lord Connemara was the Governor of Madras and Col T Weldon was the Commissioner of Police, Madras. The renowned architect of British India, Henry Irwin, was the consultant architect.
Just as the many buildings designed by Henry Irwin, such as the Madras High Court and the Government Museum, the Triplicane police station is built in the Indo-Saracenic style — a confluence of Mughal and Indian architecture. “As far as I know, this station was initially built as a house,” inspector G Manivannan said. Historians say the police station used to be a shed for horse chariots.
The worn-out furniture inside the station is probably as old as the building. Though records about the building are hard to find, the building is a survivor of sorts. “When the DMK government proposed to build a new secretariat complex at Omandurar Estate (which has now been converted into a multi-speciality government hospital), the police station was saved from being razed because of its heritage status,” a senior police officer said. But with the State gearing up for the Assembly elections, the 125-year anniversary celebrations for the police station are the least of concerns for the police officers.
The other old police stations in the city are Washermanpet Police station, Mylapore police station and Royapettah police station.