The Express Estate, which now houses landmark projects such as Express Avenue and E Residences, was till 1947, the original and first home of the Madras Club (1832-1946).
The original twenty acre site of the Madras Club, founded in 1832 as a men-only Europeans-only club, is the oldest in India after Calcutta's Bengal Club. The Madras Club, functioned here till Indian Independence. Surrounding this property are a set of historic roads, some with age old names and several with established pillars of Madras commerce and history in them.
With the expat exodus after Independence, the `whites only' club was in straitened circumstances. Nor did it need such a huge property. So, in 1947, the 20 acres and all the buildings on them were sold to Ramnath Goenka of the Indian Express and became Express Estate. In 1948, the club moved to new and smaller premises it built further up Mount Road and the newspaper moved in. The paper functioned from buildings that were in Devenish's Gardens; and Hick's Bungalow, tastefully restored, became Ramnath Goenka's home and later his daughter-in-law, Saroj Goenka's.
The Indian Express dates to Madras's first morning paper, the Daily Express, a lively daily started in 1921 by R.W.Brock who was Editor of the Madras Times when it was taken over by J.O.Robinson and merged with The Madras Mail. Brock founded a paper to entertain, with a daily magazine section, women's pages and children's pages. But when he returned home, his successors failed to make a go of it and the paper folded in 1927.
From the Englishman's Express there emerged the Indian Express in 1931/32. It was during 1947 that Ramnath Goenka took over the Indian Express and Dinamani - and began to build an all-India newspaper empire, publishing from several centres in a number of States and Union Territories. To headquarter this empire and to serve as its flagship's offices, he bought the Ace of Clubs' property.