Karl Schmidt Memorial

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Karl Schmidt Memorial on Elliot's Beach in Chennai. (After restoration)

The Karl Schmidt Memorial is an architectural landmark commemorating a European sailor who drowned in 1930 trying to save the life of a girl. It is located at Elliot's Beach in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The monument was in a derelict state,[1] but has recently been restored.


According to historians, Schmidt, who had gone to the beach, saw an English girl getting into the water who soon started struggling against the tide. In a successful attempt to save her life, he lost his own.[2] The English girl, who Schmidt saved from the sea, attended a party the following evening as though nothing had happened. The then governor, who was apparently angry with her, built the memorial to mark Schmidt's gallant act.[3]

The memorial[edit]

The plaque at KAJ Schmidt Memorial

According to experts, the structure, which was built using bricks, lacks a stone foundation. The uneven base and the sea water have caused damage to the memorial over the years.[3]

The memorial is the only heritage structure on Elliot's Beach. The memorial stone in the memorial 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."[2]

In March 2013, the Corporation of Chennai announced that it would restore the memorial.[3] In connection with the planned restoration of the memorial, the Chennai Corporation announced on 4 February 2014 that it plans to utilize Fiber Wrapping Technology to reinforce the structure.[4]

It is the initiative and non stop persuasion by Smt.Kamakshi Subramanian of "Sparks a civic forum of Besant Nagar that was responsible for the restoration. IIT Madras and REACH foundation did the actual renovation and in fact Reach Heritage Award -2014 was presented to this great lady 87 years old at that time."[5]

Until 2030 this memorial has to survive so as to get heritage tag! As of 2018, there is an enclosure around the memorial, and the cracks in the structure have been mended. However, there is still a lot of graffiti on the white surface, and people regularly climb the structure to take selfies. There are no security guards to discourage such actions.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Achuthan, Kannal (8 May 2008). "A sailor's memorial on beach sinks into oblivion". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. Retrieved 17 Mar 2013.
  2. ^ a b Hemalatha, Karthikeyan (29 December 2012). "Schmidt Memorial a tippler's haunt". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. Retrieved 17 Mar 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Hemalatha, Karthikeyan (12 March 2013). "Glory to Schmidt memorial: Civic body plans restoration". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  4. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/schmidt-memorial-to-be-wrapped-strengthened/article5650138.ece?homepage=true
  5. ^ http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31807&articlexml=History-lovers-feted-for-preserving-citys-heritage-30112014002031

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 12°59′58″N 80°16′20″E / 12.999443°N 80.272159°E / 12.999443; 80.272159