All Saints’ Church in Bengaluru was designed by Robert Fellowes Chisholm, a legend in architecture and pioneer of the Indo-Saracenic style , says Meera Iyer
One of Bengaluru’s heritage buildings that is in the news now is All Saints’ Church. Bangalore Metro wishes to temporarily acquire a good bit of the garden in front of the church to build an underground station. Church members are resisting the acquisition because of the number of old trees that will be lost, and because of fears that the drilling may damage the building.
The foundation stone of this church was laid on November 27, 1869, in a ceremony presided over by S.T. Pettigrew, who established the church.
Samuel Thomas Pettigrew was born in London in 1827. In 1855, armed with a Masters degree from Cambridge, he came over to India as a missionary. He was first appointed Assistant Chaplain in the Madras establishment of the East India Company. Apart from preaching, Pettigrew was involved in sundry other things. When he was posted in Kamptee near Nagpur, he converted a derelict cemetery into a beautiful garden.
In Thiruvananthapuram, he set up a zoo and public gardens. And in Bengaluru, Pettigrew founded the Bishop Cotton Schools, Cathedral School, an orphanage and All Saints’ Church.
Pettigrew established All Saints’ primarily to cater to retired European soldiers (many with Indian wives) and their families who could not be accommodated in the already overcrowded St. Mark’s Church. Unlike some of the other cantonment churches, this one was built entirely with donations from the public. Pettigrew himself drew up the initial designs for the building, which were promptly rejected by the Church Building Society in Madras. The church was finally designed by the “accomplished government architect, Mr. Chisholm,” he says.
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