NDC calls for halt to construction at St. Stephen’s Church 

March 05, 2023 06:00 pm | Updated 06:00 pm IST

The Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC) has urged the authorities of the St. Stephen’s Church here to address the heritage concerns as they are said to be constructing a toilet in front of the grave of the wife of John Sullivan and his daughter who are buried at the church here.

“Sullivan’s wife Henrietta and daughter Harriet who died within a week of each other in 1838 are buried at the church. The descendants of Sullivan, who have been invited by the State government, are likely to visit the grave in May,” said Venugopal Dharmalingam, honorary director of the NDC.

Sullivan was a British colonial administrator who was part of the first colonial expedition that successfully made its way up the Nilgiri hills.

“St. Stephen’s church is a heritage building and any changes to its structure or premises should keep the heritage concerns in mind. The church and district authorities should stop the work immediately and remove whatever work has been done so far. The memorials in memory of Sullivan in the district should be declared Nilgiri Heritage and protected by the administration,” said Mr. Dharmalingam in a press release.

The NDC called for a flight of steps to be built to the grave of Sullivan’s wife and daughter as part of the bicentenary celebrations. 

“NDC’s search for Sullivan’s history and legacy began at the grave as far back as 1985 inspired by the veteran journalist late K. Rama Gowder. After nearly 40 years of research the government and public have now recognised the contribution of Sullivan to Ooty, the Nilgiris and the State,” said Mr. Dharmalingam.

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