Waterproofs & Whiteaway

29 March, 2018
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Signage: Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co. (1895)

Department Store, 32 Hornby Road, Fort. (1954 onwards, the Khadi and Village Industries Emporium, 286 Dadabhai Naoroji {D.N.} Road).

Waterproofs were Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co.’s capital range of clothing.

When the firm operated from a small, cramped premises at the Esplanade, they marketed their waterproof coats and capes as the ‘Cheapest Waterproofs in Bombay’. Thoroughly serviceable, excellent and durable, their waterproofs were so well priced that ladies were encouraged to visit their store before making a trip to the bazaar.

When Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co. moved into their handsome and commodious premises on Hornby Road in 1895, built especially as a department store for the firm, their waterproofs got even more attention- a special display for ladies’ and gentleman’s waterproofs and a fine show of waterproof carriage aprons, that prepared Bombay’s buggy drivers and passengers for the impending monsoons.

The monogram WL&Co. at the entrance of the premises reminds us of a time when the department store was in capital demand.

Photo by Hersh Acharya.

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Saal Mubarak & Navroze Mubarak

21 March, 2018
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Motifs: Bombaywalla

On Navroze Day we turn 5.

We had a momentous year. Bombaywalla Blog became Bombaywalla Historical Works Pvt. Ltd.! We started conducting city walks which were wonderfully received. We are raring to go with new walks in April.

Simin, Sitanshu, Hashim, Hersh, Dj & Kamna

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So long Strand

28 February, 2018
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1) It was during the intermission of the English films at Strand Cinema, that 23-year-old T. N. Shanbhag hoped, the audience would browse and buy the books at the stall he set up there in 1948.
2) In 1956, Mr Shanbhag acquired new and spacious premises for the book stall at Dhan Nur building on Phirozeshah Mehta Road, while still maintaining the original counter at the Strand Cinema in Colaba. 3) Phirozeshah Mehta Road, was a relatively recent locality, dominated by insurance companies. Irani and other restaurants were present at every corner. 4) Mr Shanbhag and his staff would go for a ‘single’ (tea) to Bristol Grill nearby. 5) He offered the iconic 20% discount right from the beginning. 6) Mr Shanbhag’s son, Arun, joined the family business from America, sourcing titles that had made it to the top of the charts. 7) His daughter, Vidya, launched branches of the store in Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad and Poona, and the mega Strand sale at the Sunderbai Hall in Bombay.

Doors: Strand Book Stall (1956)

15C Dhan Nur, Sir Phirozeshah Mehta Road, Fort.

The iconic Strand Book Stall will shut down today after a 72 year run.

Hersh Acharya captures the last days of the institution.

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Welcome to Karfule, Bombay’s most stylish service station

16 January, 2018
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Infrastructure: Karfule (1938)

25 Sprott Road, Ballard Estate.

In the 1920s and 30s, burglary was rampant at the newly developing district of Ballard Estate, with thieves scaling the drain pipes of the Grand Hotel to steal jewels from the guests’ rooms and terriers persistently barking to alert their masters about armed intruders.

By the 1970s and 80s, drug addicts had made Ballard Estate their nightly abode, stealing any valuable metal they could find like the brass grills at the Karfule service station. Eventually only one brass grill was left. The proprietor, Kevin Sequeira, decided to paint the grills white, making the original and new indistinguishable to all. Even his son Daniel (pictured above) cannot identify the original!

This was also, possibly, the only instance when white paint was used to good effect at the service station. F. G. Sequeira, the founder, had fought to keep the façade the original Malad Stone, dashing off a letter to the Caltex petroleum company in the 1980s stating that he would not comply with their new regulation of painting service stations white. Caltex stopped supplying fuel to Karfule. F. G. Sequeira maintained his stance but agreed to let Caltex paint the station white at their own cost.

Now when the painters arrive every two years, Daniel ensures that they highlight the Art Deco elements that were expertly designed by architect G. B. Mhatre in the 1930s.

Photos by H. I. Badani, who made sure all the paint was scrapped off the Art Deco heirlooms he recently inherited.

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Season’s Greetings from 1931

25 December, 2017
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Archives: Season’s Greeting Card (1931)

By the 1840s, Bombay’s ladies had had enough of the tiresome custom of personally inviting female relatives and friends to a wedding in their family, two days before the wedding and again on the morning of the wedding itself!

They decided to send invitation cards to their lady guests instead.

Gentlemen already received letters of invitation. Now households began to receive two sets of invitation cards for the sexes.

And the ladies of the wedding party found themselves less fatigued and with a little more free time to enjoy the festivities.

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