Rajaji Road Viewed From The Madras Beach, 1890 Photo
An old 1890 photo of the Rajaji Road viewed from the Madras Iron Pier. Visible are two heavy-duty harbour cranes on the left and right sides. And a row of commercial buildings. An incredibly rare view of the First Beach Line from the British-era. Over the years the road was variously known as First Line Beach, North Beach Road, and now Rajaji Road or Rajaji Salai. The First Line Beach developed as the city’s mercantile center. Commercial establishments and businesses moved out of Fort St George around the early 1800s. To settle on this mercantile street see the various commercial buildings in the photo.
It was on the orders of then Madras Governor Edward, Lord Clive the 2nd. He was the eldest son of Robert Clive (Clive of India). This was when potential threats started diminishing from rival colonial countries and local chieftains. The First Line Beach faced the Bay of Bengal and it bordered the new Black Town which lay at the back. Later the Black Town would be renamed George Town after King George V’s visit to the city when he was the Prince of Wales. Located on this same road were the General Post Office, Parry’s Corner, and the High Court are located. Click on the photo for better view.
Did you know – the establishment of the Madras Bank in 1683 would become the first European-style bank. It moved to this street in the 19th century From Fort St George. Later it would become the Imperial Bank then the State Bank Of India.