Fort St. George was the first British fortress in India. Fort St. George has the distinction of being the oldest English fort on the East Coast of India. Constructed between 1640 and 1653 and subsequently reconstructed in the year 1783, Fort St. George was once a town, complete with named streets, alleys and roads. Since Fort St. George was completed on April 23rd, coinciding with St. George’s Day; the fort was christened Fort St. George, which soon became the hub of merchant activity. Over a period of time Fort St. George helped the British to extend their influence over the Carnatic region.
It is interesting to note that many historical personalities like Thomas Pitt, Elihu Yale, Robert Clive and Lord Cornwallis either lived in or frequently visited the Fort during the British period. The fort was thus a home away from home for many British officials of the East India Company. To keep the outsiders away, a moat was built around the fort and the British christened the area inside the moat as “The White Town”.
The St. George Fort houses a number of artifacts belonging to the British colonial period. In addition to the British artifacts, there are also some French antiques inside the Fort St. George.
The foundations of the St. Mary’s Church were laid in the year 1678 and the church was completed in a span of two and a half years, in the reign of Charles the second. St. Mary’s Church, with its marble plaques, tombstones and dedications has been a silent witness to the bygone era of Chennai/Madras city.