Saturday, September 13, 2014

Learning law

As early as 1855, the Presidency College had established a Department of Law, which was upgraded to the status of a college in 1891. With that change, it was necessary for students to have a campus of their own. Who should be in charge of getting that done but the architect-builder do of Henry Irwin and Namberumal Chetty - and it was obvious that the style was going to be Indo-Saracenic. The design blended with that of the Madras High Court, which was just to the east of the site for the Law College. 

In fact, the site of the college was once upon a time the cemetery of the old "Whites' Town" of Fort St George. The layout of the college buildings is quite distinctive - an irregular hexagon around a central courtyard, with large, rectangular classrooms that could seat over 150 students. The towers flank a carriageway, but the more pedestrian entrance is at the opposite face of the hexagon. 

Sometime ago, the college was renamed Dr Ambedkar Government Law College, and is a constituent college of the Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University. The tower on the right lost its finial last year, thanks to the work of the Chennai Metro. Maybe they will restore it, once the Metro is up and running. If they refuse to, would the students sue them?

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