ST. Thomas Mount

The St. Thomas Mount Cantonment lies about 8 miles from South West of Madras and about 3 miles of South West of Saidapet. Pallavaram is about 11 miles South West of Madras and about 6 miles South West of Saidapet. The length of the Cantonment from East to West is 5 1/4th miles and North to South is from 1 ¼th mile to 2 1/8th miles. At the instance of Lt. Col. James, Commanding the Artillery at Fort St. George, considering the complaint of earlier inconveniences caused to his men by numerous public houses at Black Town now called George Town and further on want of proper conveniences for practice at Vellore, the Board of Directors agreed on 1st Dec 1774, to order the artillery from Madras and Vellore to rendezvous at the St Thomas Mount till further order. In 1805 the collector of Chengleput Distt. Surveyed the land and marked its limits with bound stones as per the suggestion of the commanding Officer of the Cantonment. In 1811, the limits of the Cantonment were extended 4 miles around it in order to restrict the immoderate use of spirituous liquors by the European troops at the St Thomas Mount. In 1814, the limits of the Cantonment were again extended, so as to include the ground on which the Horse Artillery could always be maneuvered and the whole of a small hill on which it was desirable to place a solitary prison.

In 1826, there was a further extension of Cantonment in order to enlarge the artillery practice ground since the existing ground was only suitable for a mortar range or preaching battery, whereas it was necessary to provide for two ‘enfilading batteries’.
In 1830, the Military Authorities asked the Government to Mark the boundary stones in the limits of the Cantonment and at the same time include within the said limits a small village on the South West side of the Cantonment.
In G.O. No.139 dated 1st June 1832, the Cantonment was constituted in a Military Bazaar Station, the administration of Regulation VII of 1832 being vested in the Station Staff Officer under the orders of the Officer Commanding. In 1846, the limits of the Cantonment as it then existed; were marked by boundary stones.
In 1856, a description of the boundaries of the cantonment was furnished by the Military Department to the Government for approval and the Govt. approved the description. In 1860, the limits of the cantonment were extended and in the same year a notification was published in the Fort St.George gazette declaring St. Thomas Mount to be a Military Cantonment within the meaning of Madras Act no.IV of 1865.

The revised boundaries of the cantonment and also of the Mount Bazaar and Bengali Bazaar were notified in the Gazette of that year. In 1905, the Government of India sanctioned the amalgamation of the Pallavaram Cantonment with this cantonment, as the Native Infantry Depot at the latter place had been withdrawn, and as the Commandant of the Depot ceased to be Special Magistrate at Pallavaram when the Depot was withdrawn. But, for want of the final orders of Government on the exclusion of the Saidapet Water Works from the St. Thomas Mount Cantonment, the notification for the combined cantonments was not published in the gazette till 1911. In 1914, and again on 7th January 1919, revised descriptions of the boundaries of the combined cantonments were published in the Fort St. George Gazette. On 7th July 1927, a notification was published in the Gazette excluding the Sadar Bazaar – better known as the “Bengali Bazaar” from the cantonment of St. Thomas Mount cum Pallavaram.

History of Pallavaram Cantonment

In the year October 1820, the Board of Revenue, Madras called upon the Collector of Chengalpet to report whether any obstacle existed to the appropriation of a piece of ground on the South Bank of the Adyar River for the occasional encampment of troops. This ground included in part or wholly seven villages of the Saidapet Taluk and was ordered by Government in 1821 to be acquired at the cost of the Military Department. It was paid for in 1822 and the cantonment so formed was called “The Presidency Cantonment”.
Gradually, the former name-dropped out of use. In 1822, the cantonment ground was leveled and two small villages were added to it. In 1832, the cantonment had constituted a Military Bazaar Station, at the same time as formed in St. Thomas Mount cantonment. In 1856, the boundaries of the cantonment were further extended towards the South and the revised boundaries were extended to include portions of the villages of Meenambakkam, Tirusoolam and Talakanjeri for use as a rifle range.
The revised specification of the Cantonment Boundaries was published in the same year in the Fort St. George Gazette. From 1st April 1890, certain taxes were imposed in the Cantonment under Section 21, Act III of 1880. In 1904, the boundary was again extended so as to include a portion of the same villages and thus bringing the two cantonments into contact. In 1905, the Government of India sanctioned the amalgamation of the two cantonments; and the notification describing the boundaries of the combined cantonments was published in 1911.