Thursday, July 31, 2014
With the nationalization of the life insurance business, the LIC of India became a monopoly. With that also came the assets of several of the life insurance companies that were doing business in India - almost 250 of them.
Many of those companies had long histories. Among the oldest was the Oriental Life Insurance Company of Calcutta, which had been started in Calcutta in 1818. With its nationalisation, their buildings were also taken over by the LIC. That's how this lovely building, at the corner of Armenian Street and Errabalu Chetty Street came to have that sign in front, looking quite out of place with the rest of the facade.
It is often held up as an example of Art Deco in Madras; of course it is from that period, the 1920s, but somehow I think the architect / builder slipped in some Jaipuri-Jaina touches as well. The jalli of the uppermost balcony is, in my mind a giveaway - what do you think?