Circa 1842: The Indo – Saracenic building that stands tall today as the police Museum was the first building of the city Police Commissionerate. This 14-acre property with its Bungalow was built by Arunagiri Mudaliar. Lt.Col.John Carne Boulderson became the first Police Commissioner in 1856 as per the City Police Act of XIII of 1856. The once rented property now became the asset of the Police via Lt.Col.John Carne Boulderson on July 22, 1856. The entire property with the bungalow was purchased for 21,000 Rupees. This heritage structure has undergone several changes, extensions and abuse in the late 1800s and 1900s.
Under the reign of Lt.Col.M.S. Drever, the Police Commissionerate was shifted to a new building that was designed by Architect Robert Chisholm and located on the Police Commissioner’s Office Road for a brief period. Once the Police Commissionerate shifted back to this old building, the temporary Commissionerate was used as the photography studio of the Police. Finally, this building has gained a high heritage value in the city and there this building needs to be conserved this building, The architectural wonder of this building is that the spatial quality has enabled it to adaptively house the museum. The original bungalow is a two-storied load-bearing structure with a grand portico that welcomes the visitors into a verandah that runs around the front periphery of the building, It transitions smoothly into the lobby that has an elaborate curved timber staircase that leads us to the first floor. This staircase has stood the test of time and has retained its historic fabric to date. The rooms were designed to be of large heights with tall windows flooding them with natural light and ventilation.
Little did Commissioner JC Boulderson know that his office would reincarnate to be a museum for Tamil Nadu Police.
The decision to restore the building to its original glory and the historic fabric is what makes the building’s conservation story a beautiful one. We are taken back in time as we see the shut doors and windows opened up, the restored balcony, the original corridor with its high parapet walls, the original Madras Terrace roofing, and the walls plastered with the original recipe of the lime plaster (Chunam) used in the building a century ago. This restoration has brought the building back alive and makes us realise what it would have been like to live and interact in this building in 1882. Be rest assured that J.C.Boulderson’s spirit was working overtime in ADGP Mr Amalraj IPS, working under the direct supervision of the then DGP Mr Tripathy IPS to get the building back in form and fit for another century.
The surprise came when the Police Bosses voted against occupying the prestigious building again and instead chose to house their museum in the piece of art. By any standards, this building is itself a Museum object. Immense energies have guided this project. Mr Steve Borgia was invited as an honorary Executive Consultant to this project to make the dream come alive. Mr Steve with his team of architects and passionate heritage enthusiasts has put the Museum together, with articles and stories that can be found only here. He has also donated the largest taxidermies tiger in India, to honour the men in uniform.
The seed is sown for posterity. Generations will pass by. But this Boulderson building and all its content will stand here singing praise to the men who protected human lives around. May the spirit of Boulderson and his men, this Sarcenian piece of Art, and all the objects it contains carry the past into the future.
Timings: Monday to Friday 11 am to 7 pm
Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 7 pm
Holidays: Every Tuesday Holiday
Leave for National Holidays only (i.e., Republic day, independence day and Gandhi Jayanthi)
Fees: For Adults Rs.10/-
For Children Rs5/- (Free for all Govt. School students and Police personnels)
Details about the Exhibits
Collection of all DGPs photos and photos of City Commissioners, all kinds of police rifles and guns, fingerprint kits, ancient cameras, 17th and 18th-century idols, explosives and bomb detective equipment, counterfeit currencies and fake currency printing machine, police used ancient cycles and bulletproof vehicle. Police department medals and shields, kiosk, display of police uniforms, old Commissioner room, model jail, etc.
Tentative duration of visit: 1 to 1.30 hrs.
Significance: This museum consists of the tradition and culture of police from the olden times to the modern times. Whoever has curious to know about the police department must visit our museum.
Location: Old Commissioner Office Campus, Egmore, Chennai-08.
Amenities: cafeteria, parking, curio shop, restroom, drinking water facilities.