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Rare Old Pictures of Cochin Handed Over to Maritime Heritage Museum


Port Wings News Network:

About 25 rare old pictures on the making of port of Cochin, particularly of construction of the rail-road bridges to Willingdon Island, were handed over to Cochin Port Maritime Heritage Museum at a function held at the Museum on 12 February.

The photographs and some old writings on the making of the Port were handed over by Shri.R. Shivshankar, son of Late R.T. Ramachandra who was the Resident Engineer in charge of bridge works for Cochin Harbour during 1936-40.  The photographs and other documents were received by Shri A V Ramana, Deputy Chairman, Cochin Port Trust.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri A.V. Ramana recollected the contributions made by Ramachandra in providing the much needed rail-road connectivity to Willingdon Island as the Resident Engineer in the team of Sir Robert Bristow who created the modern port of Cochin. Of these, the Venduruthy Rail-Road Bridge and Mattanchery (old) bridge remain as engineering marvels even today. He also recounted the writings on R T Ramachandra  as a great philanthropic, who used to keep a portion of his income to educate the children in his village. He was like a lighted candle which has the ability to spread light to many more candles.  He has lit the candles of knowledge in lot of children, which is a rare act of benevolence.

Shri. Shivashankar remembers his father as the only Indian Engineer in the team of Sir Robert Bristow assigned with executive charge of bridges in Cochin. It was an engineering fete for the fact that underwater concrete pillars were raised for the first time of this magnitude in South India. He fondly remembers the farewell comments offered by Sir Robert Bristow who documented R.T. Ramachandra as a person of exemplary conduct and exceptional combination of theoretical and practical ability.

Shri. Goutam Gupta, Traffic Manager, Cochin Port Trust and Smt. C. Premakumari, Secretary (i/c) also spoke on the occasion.

R.T. Ramachandra was born in 1902 in Rudrapatna, a small village at Mysore and graduated in Civil Engineering from Bangalore in 1923. He worked with Bombay PWD, M/s. B.B & C.I. Rly, M/s.Callender’s Cable & Construction Co. Ltd, M/s.Braithewaite & Co. Engineers Ltd during 1923 to 1936. After four years stint at Cochin Port, RTR worked with the Inspection Wing of the directorate general of Industry and Supply, Govt. of India. He passed away in 1962. RTR and Seethamma had six children and his son Shri. R. Shivashankar is settled in the US.

The Maritime Heritage Museum situated at North End of Willingdon Island depicts maritime heritage of Cochin and evolution of Cochin Port, where rare photographs and old maritime equipments connected with the saga of construction of Cochin Port are on display. Old photographs on display include arrival of the first train to Willingdon Island, loading of elephant gifted by Jawaharlal Nehru to the children of Russia, Mattanchery shore lined up with boats from Alleppey and photographs on construction of bridges and wharves.  Models of mariner’s clock, mechanical calculator, underwater searching tool, steering unit etc are also on display.

Shri Shivashankar (2nd from left) hands over old photographs to Shri A V Ramana, Dy. Chairman, Cochin Port Trust (3rd from left) Smt. C. Premakumari and Shri Goutam Gupta are also seen.

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