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Nostalgia as hallowed Connemera Library opens with new look

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Nov 21 (UNI) The renovated more-than-a-century-old Connemara Public Library, a treasure trove of rare publications, was today inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Local Administration Minister M K Stalin.

State School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu and Information and Publicity Minister Parithi Ilamvazhuthi and Chennai Corporation Mayor M Subramanian were present at the function held at the Government Museum here.

With the technical expertise of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the public library, one of India's four national depository libraries, had regained resplendence with restored stained glass, floral murals and glass tiles.

The renovation works, carried out at a cost of Rs 1.21 crore,took seven long years as there was delay in importing the stained glass, cutting them and assembling them on the site.

A lot of efforts had also gone into restoring the art work and replacing the tiles with glass ones in the vaulted roof.

The Department of Culture, Government of India and the Tamil Nadu Department of Education had renovated the 1896 structure and the restored library had been thrown open to public for one week from today.

The significant part of the restoration work was replacing the tiles with glass ones in the building's vaulted roof allowing sunlight to come into the library hall.

The library, which had been part of the colonial Government Museum, was designed by Henry Irwin and built in 1896. The need for a public library arose when surplus books in the libraries of Haileybury College in England were sent to the Madras Government.

This prompted the Governor of Madras, Lord Connemara, to lay the foundation for a library.

Commissioned in 1890 and designed by Mr Irwin, the consulting architect to the Government of Madras, it was completed after six years.

The restored building has exquisite woodcarvings and stained-glass panes with Roy Choudhry's bust of Gandhi.

The stately building was built in the Indo-Saracenic style and it is rare to come across a such a building in the present times.


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