Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Chennai Trivia - 8

Identify these buildings.



The first building has been rebuilt, but the second, taller one is still present, alive and functioning in the same location.

Answer: The picture is of Rajaji Salai. The first building is the (in)famous Arbuthnot Bank whose collapse IN 1906 almost bankrupted entire South India. The Second building is now occupied by HSBC Bank.



The crash of Arbuthnot bank is an interesting study. When it crashed in 1906 it had dubious assets worth 7 million Pounds and liabilities of 27 million Pounds (and we are taking in 1906 values).

The firm invested lavishly in daring enterprises, such as searching for gold in the Nilgiris and Anamalais, investing in American railway projects and new South African goldfields, and in the plantation crops of the West Indies, amongst other ventures


History was to repeat itself when the successor to Arbuthnot Bank, the Indian Bank went through the same set of sequences in 1990s under the flamboyant chairman M. Gopalakrishnan lending recklessly to various ventures and almost folded.

Looks like Finance Company debacles are regular events of Madras History.

Futher details here. I guess this is an article by Mr. Muthiah, the tone is his, but there is no byline to the story.

11 comments:

Kaps said...

Parry's corner Parrys's house (EID Parry) has been rebuilt. i think the adjacent building is SBI.

Chenthil said...

No Kaps. You are close but not correct

Anonymous said...

The building still standing is the one now used by HSBC Bank.

donotspam said...

Higgin bothams??

http://eswaraprasadh.blogsome.com

ammani said...

Is it RBI building? Sari, sari, I'm exposing my ignorance here. Summa oru guess than.

Chenthil said...

I will wait till tomorrow for the answers, also will post the picutre of the location as it is now.

sathish said...

chenthil, enga all fotos from Randor Guy is it??

Chenthil said...

Satish, I have read Randar Guy but don't know him personally. Most of the photos are from British Library India Office collection (I gave the link in Trivia 2), but this one is from the all powerful google. Will give this link tomorrow with the answer.

Ravages said...

still waiting for the correct answer, but one of your commentors got it.

lazygeek said...

it should be rbi or chennai share market building.

Chenthil said...

Only Anon got it right. The surviving building is occuppied by HSBC now.

This is Rajaji Salai, and the first building is the famed Arbuthnot Bank, whose collapse in 1906 almost bankrupted entire South India. It was because of the crash of Arbuthnot bank the Indians started their own bank, the Indian Bank. The Arbuthnot Bank building was pulled down and Indian Bank is present in this location now.