Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Special Cover on first Madras Exchange Light House – 22nd August 2016.

It is believed that on 22nd August 1639 a small piece of land where Fort St. George stands today was acquired by the British East India Company from the local ruler. 22nd August 1639 being the widely agreed date for the deal, every year 22nd August is celebrated as founding day of Madras (now Chennai) and celebrated as ‘Madras Day’. In order to enlarge participation, the Madras Day has been expanded to create the Madras Week. This year Madras Week is being celebrated from 21st to 28th August.

On the occasion of 377th founding day of Madras a Special Cover to mark 220 years of first Madras Exchange Light House was released at a function held at ASI Building, Fort St. George, Chennai on 22nd August 2016. The Special Cover was released by Dr. Charles Lobo, Chief Postmaster General, Tamilnadu Circle and the first cover was received by Dr. Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetti, in presence of Shri Amarnath Ramakrishna, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI (Chennai), Shri D. Hemachandra Rao and other dignitaries. (Special Cover approval no. TN/31/2016). The cancellation shows octagonal shape of the Light House.

The first lighthouse was built on the roof of the Exchange Building (present day Fort Museum) in 1796. Situated at 99 feet above sea level, the beam was made in octagonal shape and built of wooden frame work and wooden plank covering. It had twelve oil wick lamps which were fueled by coconut oil. The three rear sides of glass windows were made opaque so no light is seen on the land side. This lighthouse functioned until 1841 when the British government erected a 120-ft Doric column in the High Court compound as a replacement that used argand lamps. In 1894, Madras’s third lighthouse was established as part of the new High Court building, 175-ft above sea level.

Special Cover on first Madras Exchange Light House

Special Cover on first Madras Exchange Light House

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