Karl Schmidt Memorial at Besant Nagar Beach
Karl Schmidt Memorial is one of the historical landmarks of Chennai which is located in Besant Nagar Beach. This small memorial was constructed to recognize the effort of a Danish sailor who gave his life to save a life of an English girl who was struggling in the sea.
On December 30, 1930, K A J Schmidt saved the life of an English girl who was struggling in the sea and Schmidt lost his own life during this incident. The same day evening, the girl attended a party which irked the then Governor of Madras, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir George Frederick Stanley. He built this memorial to recognize Schmidt’s gallantry and bravery. The sculpture in the monument reads, “To commemorate the gallantry of K A J Schmidt who was drowned near this spot on December 30, 1930 while helping to save the lives of others.”
Schmidt was originally thought as a Dutch national but very recently an ambassador from Denmark who visited the monument revealed that Schmidt was born in Denmark in 1901, who later joined East Asiatic Company in 1921. The company then posted him in Madras Office for import and export of goods from both countries. The Ambassador of Denmark extended his country full support in maintaining the monument henceforth.
Monument structure and Renovations
According to experts, this monument was constructed using bricks and with very weak foundation. Due to this and sea water, this monument was heavily damaged in recent days. Also, the lack of maintenance and encroachment of public damaged it more.
Understanding its historic importance, the city corporation recently renovated it with the help of Mahabalipuram based sculptor team. It is said that the cracks found in the monument were repaired by inserting iron rod and further it was filled with some chemicals. The basement structure is also strengthened by reinforcing it with granites and bricks.
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