CHENNAI: The Victoria Hall in Park Town, which witnessed the formation of the Justice Party in 1916 and went on to host several of its meetings, will be reopened for public meetings and gatherings after renovation, corporation officials said.
A Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the renovation is ready and several DMK leaders, including Chief Minister MK Stalin, are keen on having the iconic structure renovated because of its association with the Justice Party, which paved the way for the Dravidian movement, the officials said.
Apart from scientifically restoring the structure and establishing a museum, the project envisages community spaces and restaurants at the hall. The plan is to create a public space where history and contemporary cultural and recreational needs meet.
“On the first floor, there will be an exhibition space and a public hall that can host conferences or seminars,” said a corporation official. As for the museum, some items holding significance for the city will be permanently displayed but the themes of other display items will be changed every three months to attract city residents on a regular basis.
The ground floor is set to have restaurants and the space around the building will be used to host open-air exhibitions and outdoor events. “The events will be organised through a consultant. A special purpose vehicle will be formed with a CEO and a team is in place to take care of such tasks as curation of events and looking for revenue sources like renting out halls,” said a corporation official. The tender for the project, having an estimated cost of Rs 28.7 crore, will be floated soon.
The Victoria Hall was opened to the public in 1887 to commemorate the Golden jubilee of Queen Victoria of Britain and is one of the last remaining structures built in Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The building reportedly remained closed for 40 years shortly after it was renovated for the first time by the then Chief Minister of Madras State CN Annadurai in 1967. It was renovated again in the early 90s.