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Fort St. George

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St. George Chennai

Fort St. George is the seat of the Tamil Nadu State Secretariat and Legislative Assembly. With a history dating back to the British rule in India, Fort St. George was built in 1640 and houses the oldest surviving British church in India - St. Mary's Church. This church has been witness to the weddings and funerals of Lord Clive and Governer Elinu Yale, who was the founder of Yale University.

The architecture is typical of the style of the 17th and 18th century British constructions. Fort St. George has a grey granite exterior and owes its name to the patron saint of England. It was used as the residence of the Governor General Clive. The museum housed within the Fort St. George complex boasts of a rare collection of portraits and paintings of English royalty and coins and porcelain. You can find original letters written by Clive and Cornwallis.

The building was used as the office of the Madras Bank in its early years. The Public Exchange Hall was used for entertainment and public meetings. Find the canons of Tipu Sultan gracing the ramparts of the Fort St. George museum.

You can also find a war memorial dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. The tallest towering flagstaff in India can be found at Fort St. George in Madras. Raised in 1687, this flagstaff was originally made in teak and was later replaced by metal in 1994.

When the British soldiers headed by Francis Day and Andrew Cogon landed in Chennaipatnam, the foundation of Fort St. George was laid. A fishing settlement around this area came to be known as George Town. In 1650, the area was made into a separate Presidency and soon gained prominence as the headquarters of the British settlement on the Eastern coast.

Today it is a busy and bustling commercial area of the city. Clive House houses the State government offices. You can also find the southern office of the Archaeological Survey of India within the Fort premises.

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Fort St. George