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Tuesday, February 1, 2022

10 Downing Street - in Boag Road, Chennai

I had posted earlier on 10 Downing Street ….. the direct reference is of course to the famous one in the  United Kingdom - the headquarters of the Executive Arm of the British Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, a post which, for much of the 18th and 19th centuries and ever since 1905, is also held by the Prime Minister.

Cameron and Samantha walking out of No. 10 Downing Street

Situated in Downing Street in the City of Westminster, London, Number 10 is over three hundred years old and contains approximately one hundred rooms. Adjacent to St. James's Park, Number 10 is near to Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the British monarch, and the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place of both houses of parliament.  Number 10 Downing Street has never been busier than it is today. It is an office for the Prime Minister, a meeting place for the Cabinet, a venue for state events and a home for the Prime Minister's family.  This is a property developed by Sir George Downing.  Even before the role of prime minister existed, the inhabitants of today's Downing Street were keenly involved in politics. Early residents were at the centre of momentous historical events.

In the 1730s Number 10 began to be linked to the office of prime minister. It was a period of great change. Rule by a powerful monarch had given way only a few decades earlier to a different style of government led by Parliament and party politics. It became important to house the chief ministers in buildings grand enough for their status. When Benjamin Disraeli went to live at Number 10 in 1877, the house was in poor shape. The living quarters had not been used for 30 years.

Aside : 10 Downing Street in Chennai is the name of a pub.  There are many Roads with British connection and some named after civil servants of colonial era.  Read that there was one by name Sir George Townsend Boag who resided on this road and the road being named after him as ‘Boag Road’.  As we cut across from Mount Road, to go to the shopping paradise T Nagar ~ you go through Thegaraya Road.. on the first major intersection near Residency Towers, one could see the statue of Ma Po Si and -  Boag road on both left and right sides. 

Mylapore Ponnuswamy Sivagnanam (Ma.Po.Si) was a Tamil Scholar and the Champion of Tamil Language and Culture. He belonged to a rare group of eminent personalities who, having had no formal education worth the name in a background of poverty and lack of social status, have risen. MaPoSi was instrumental in reviving the public interest of Kattabomman through his biography he wrote. Later  the Tamil movie 'Veerapandiya Kattabomman’ featuring Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Padmini, Varalakshmi and Ragini propelled to fame.  It was MaPoSi who wrote the screenplay for this movie.

The scene where Kattabomman and Jackson [Jackson Thurai !] confront each other  has been such a smashing hit, that invariably those trying their hand in acting, try to reenact this scene.

As you head towards T Nagar, the road on your left is South Boag road and the one on right is North Boag Road.   On the  South Boag Road lived actor Sivaji Ganesan in the house named ‘Annai illam’ which was the house where Boag lived earlier.   In 1998, South Boag Road was rechristened Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan Salai hailing the Chevalier title given to thespian Sivaji Ganesan.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
27th Aug 2015.

PS :  post made in Aug 2015, and published now from drafts ... not sure whether things remain the same still!

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