British Era Iron Pier Harbour Chennai – Photo 1870

Probably one of the earliest photos (1870) of the British-era iron pier harbour in Madras, now Chennai. Because of an inlet-less coast ships would anchor at the outer sea in the early days. And with the help of masula boats, passengers and cargo were ferried from ship to coast.

This caused cargo loss impediments because of pilfering and rough weather, a pier was proposed for docking of ships. The British East India Company earnestly took up the construction of the new pier that was completed in 1861.

It consisted of a ‘T’ shaped jetty protruding from the beach into the sea. With a length of 1000 feet and 40 feet width, with a ‘T’-head. It was a simple design but unprotected against the vagaries of the weather.

Probably because of lack of funds or lack of good technology? We may not know the exact reason. Predictably a violent storm did indeed badly damage the pier in around 1870. So much so the pier was breached in half. The crippled jetty was then repaired and put back into use again by 1875.

See post- Breach Of The Madras Iron Pier – Old Print 1895.

Later concrete breakwater barriers were constructed encircling the harbour with an opening for ships to pass. By the late 19th century and early 20th century, a permanent harbour was commissioned. Enabling passenger steamers and cargo ships to berth safely without any interruptions or setbacks. Click on the photo for better view.

Read also-The man who taught us how to love Madras. 

Did you know- the German warship Emden bombarded Madras city and the harbour in WW1. 

From the collection-  Raja Ravi Varma’s “Birth of Shakuntala” Oleograph 1894., King George V In 1911 Delhi Durbar – Old Postcard., Vintage Book 1913 – The Peoples of India., Ooty Steam Loco Train Halt Over Bridge – Old Photo 1909

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, or stock photos or taken from other sources.

Photo Details

Year -

1889

Photograph Size -

5¾x3¾ Inch

Photographer -

unknown