Spencer’s British Era Store Madras, 1967 Postcard

A 1967 photo postcard of Spencer’s a British-era department store in Madras (Chennai). Once an elegant shopping center for the Europeans of the Madras Presidency. Located at Mount Road, it had an atmosphere of elegance and sophistication cultivated over decades. Its origins date back to 1863 to a small provision shop, Spencers developed into a major departmental store.

At a time when such stores were unknown in this part of the world but with exception of the Army & Navy Stores. Spencer’s spread its wings with 16 stores in British India. Even after independence, the citizens of Madras continued to identify Spencer’s with its department store. It had over 80 departments ranging from provisions to furnishings, jewelry to home decor, and so on.

In the British era, the store with its red building had always been associated as a shop for the affluent, a mini Harrods of Madras. It had magic in its name until this beautiful red heritage building was burned down in a fire in 1983. In its place, a modern building came up and was named Spencer Plaza which became one of the earliest malls in India. But that just did not carry the magic like its old self.

The old Spencer’s began with a small provision store in 1863, established by Charles Durant, an Englishman. The shop was on Mount Road in a small room adjoining Hotel D’Angelis. By 1895 Spencer’s moved into its beautiful red building on Mount Road. That would later be connected well with the electric tram and motor vehicles.

Did you know – Spencer’s would later add a motor vehicle department in its stores.

From the collection – 11 Picture Postcards On Raja Ravi Varma Oil Paintings., Street Scene In Byculla Mumbai – Old Photo 1923.