Banking on past glory
DUNSTAN S. MORRIS
Government School of Nursing, which is a heritage monument, was once the largest building in Kollam.
BLEND OF EAST AND WEST: The Government School of Nursing in Kollam. Photo: C. Suresh Kumar
The large building in need of renovation, located opposite the Quilon District Hospital, might well be mistaken for an old palace. In fact, it was originally a bank. The building was inaugurated by C.P. Ramaswami Aiyer the then Dewan of erstwhile Travancore on June 23, 1937. Built by C.P. Matten, managing director of the bank, at a cost of Rs. 1,50,000, it was in its time the largest building in Kollam.
A blend of European and Eastern architectural styles, the twin-towered one-storied building has a stately central edifice with gabled, fish-scale tiled roofs supported by wooden dragon-like supports. The towers at both ends, with ornamental metallic motifs atop, which lend a dreamy air to the building, are a remarkable feature of the building.
The building has a beautiful, ornamental porch, with columns. Within an arched canopy in the central edifice is a bust of Chitra Tirunal, Maharaja of erstwhile Travancore. The bank was reported to have become insolvent, following which it went into litigation, and the building was eventually put up for public auction.
One K.G. Parameshwaran Pillai, the successful bidder at the auction, is said to have converted the buildings as a Shashthadapoorthi memorial for C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar. The building, which has been listed as a heritage monument, was for some time the medical stores depot of the Kollam district hospital.
At present, it accommodates a Government school of nursing, and it also houses the psychology, paediatric, ENT, dental and speech therapy departments of the district hospital.
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