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Ripon Building, a fine modern attempt at the Indo-Saracenic, is the headquarters of the Corporation, to which the move from Errabalu Chetty street was made in 1913. A magnificant white building, it was built by Loganatha Mudaliar who received Rs.5.5 lakhs for his share of the Rs.7.5 lakhs work. Four years under construction, Ripon building is 252 feet long and 126 feet wide. Its tower is 132-foot tall and features a clock eight feet in diameter. The first of its three floors has a 25,000 sq.ft. area, It was declared open at a function attended by over 3000 of the city's elite. Lord Ripon, Viceroy from 1880-1884, when he introduced local government reforms is remembered in a statue here.

During the year 1947, Building Dept. was under the control of Works Department, headed by an Engineer. The following were the chief functions of the Works Department:
1. Execution of all works pertaining to the construction and maintenance of roads, pavements, culverts, bridges, buildings, parks, etc.,
2. Maintenance of records of all Corporation lands and buildings.
3. Regulation of the construction of buildings and structures according to the provisions of the City Municipal Act and the Town Planning Act.
4. Improvements to slums, land development and housing the poor.
5. Preparation of Town Planning Schemes and their execution.
There were 50 Overseers, each in charge of a division to look after building and road works of the concerned division. Each Overseer had a gang of coolies with a Maistry to promptly attend to all repair works of road, foot-paths, etc.
In most of the divisions there were stores for the Overseers to keep materials and equipment, etc.,
Plans and estimates for construction of new roads and buildings, improvements to existing buildings, preparation of specifications for inviting tenders in connection with works proposed to be let out on contract, were dealt with by the Drawing Section comprising of one Head Draftsman, 8 Draftsman and 2 Tracers.
All the buildings in the City owned by the Corporation were under the control of the Engineer, who attends to their proper maintenance.

High Schools:

The High school at Nungambakkam which was started in 1926 has over 700 pupils on its rolls. It serves a very large number of Adi-Dravidas and Scheduled Class pupils of the area. The High School at Saidapet was taken over by the Corporation on 1-4-1946.

In the year 1950, only 73 out of 202 schools were located in Corporation buildings and three schools in Government buildings, while the remaining 126 are housed in private buildings rented for the purpose. Though additional accommodation had been provided by constructing temporary sheds for some schools, yet owing to non-availability of building materials and the prohibitive cost of construction of buildings, new constructions could not be taken up. A comprehensive scheme for construction of buildings on sites already acquired, and for further acquisition of land and buildings for school-purposes is under consideration. As the accommodation at present is insufficient in a number of the Corporation Schools and rush for admission is great, some of the schools work in shifts to meet the increase in strength.

Secondary Education:

(a) The Corporation High School at Nungambakkam started in 1926, as over 1,166 pupils on its rolls which includes 232 girls, 141 Harijans and ten Muslims. There is a separate section for girls in Form V. This school serves the educational needs of a very large number of Harijan pupils of the area.
(b) The High School at Saidapet under the management of the Saidapet Municipality was taken over by Corporation of Madras on 1st April 1946 and it has on its rolls 520 pupils of whom 89 are girls.
The Buildings Department is having a sanctioned complement of one Chief Engineer (Buildings & Bridges), one Superintending Engineer assisted by 4 Executive Engineers, 15 Asst. Executive Engineers, 50 Assistant Engineers, 4 Draughtsman and 5 Asst. Draughtsman.


A sum of nearly Rs.30 lakhs is being spent annually by the Corporation on Elementary Education and about Rs.10 lakhs on the supply of Mid-Day Meals, maintenance of reading rooms, High Schools, Playgrounds, Nursery Schools, etc., as against an expenditure of Rs.5,500 in the year 1911-12.

It has been observed by an eminent writer that "if any one function is to be singled out as furnishing the best index of vitality and vision of the City Government, it is education". Judged by this test, the Madras Corporation can well claim a prominent place among the Municipal Bodies in India.

Public Conveniences In The City :

There were about 406 public flush-out and dry latrines and public conveniences in different parts of the City. But many of them were old and insanitary and as the want of superior types of public conveniences suitable for middle classes was felt, comprehensive schemes for constructing 275 improved type of public conveniences in thoroughfares, slums, cheries, and hutting grounds at an estimated cost of about Rs.14.65 lakhs were drawn. In the year 1950, 177 new public conveniences have been constructed in several essential and important parts of the City. In some of the public conveniences, bath-room facilities have also been provided. As increased accommodation for bath-rooms was found necessary, 21 separate bath-rooms were constructed at a cost of Rs.31,600 affording facilities for more number of people to bathe at a time.

Details of Public Convenience

The types of various buildings constructed under Buildings Department are : Apart from this, building works recommended by Hon'ble M.P's and M.L.A.'s are also carried out with the fund allotted by them from the Constituency Development Schemes and works are also executed under Self Sufficiency Schemes.

  • Corporation school buildings.
  • Community Centres
  • Auditoriums.
  • Shopping Complex/ Markets
  • Electrical Crematorium
  • Public Conveniences.
  • Transfer Station.
  • Dispensary, Clinic, Health Posts, Family Welfare Centres, Child Welfare Centres
  • 16th day Ceremony Buildings.
  • Gymnasium & Playgrounds.
  • Laboratories.
  • Dhobikanas
  • Slaughter Houses
  • Indoor Stadium
  • Dn/Unit/Zonal Office Buildings.


Buildings Department newly constructs classrooms and Laboratories for the schools where middle class and poor pupils are studying.