Indian Bank

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A new home for the bank

The Hindu

The Indian Bank has got a spanking new headquarters in the Royapettah area and its modernistic design certainly catches the eye though its glass-steel-and-concrete construction does make conservationists like me wonder how much energy it will devour every day. But that's another story. Today's is about the peregrinating headquarters of the Bank.

When the Indian Bank started transacting business on August 15, 1907, its home was in the Parry complex at Parry's Corner. It soon moved to the Ramakoti Building in Rattan Bazaar, later home of the South India Chamber of Commerce. In 1909, in a nice touch of irony, the Bank bought the handsome, Classically-styled Arbuthnot Building on First Line Beach that had headquartered Arbuthnot & Co whose crash had seen the Indian Bank rise from its ashes. The Bank paid Rs.1,35,000 for the property that was separated from Bentinck's Building (the Collectorate) by what is still called Arbuthnot Street. When the South India Chamber moved into Ramakoti Building, the Indian Bank in 1910 moved into Arbuthnot Building, the building seen in my picture today.

In 1970, it built a characterless tower block after pulling down the stately old structure Arbuthnot's had raised. The multi-storey building that was raised was in the style of the LIC and Indian Overseas Bank buildings on Mount Road, Madras's early efforts at highrise. It is a building that pales today in comparison with its successor building that's all agleam with glass and chrome. Obviously it's keeping pace with the changing Madras. The plot where the 2011 headquarters building has come up once hosted the palatial house of a dubash of Best & Co., a company that once had a headquarters building not unlike Arbuthnot's at the other end of First Line Beach.

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