Archives: Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Esq. J.P.
Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia (1808-1862) was typical of the second or third generation of Bombay’s mercantile elite, who more public men than business men.
Bomonjee, his obituaries highlight, was liberal, well versed in the law, a judicious philanthropist and held the positions of Sheriff of Bombay, Commissioner of the Court of Requests and Justice of the Peace, among others.
‘Kind, amiable and gentlemanly in his manners’, as the Bombay Gazette describes him, Bomonjee seems to have been at ease with the world. With his modern customised hat and coat, his image is quite different from the previous generations of Wadias who posed for their portraits in turbans and with rulers tucked into their waistbands.
Image from H. D. Darukhanawala’s Parsi Lustre on Indian Soil. Bombay: G. Claridge & Co. LTD., 1939, p. 345.
The clock tower built in 1880 in Bomonjee’s memory has been recently restored.
Archives: Liberty Cinema’s Foundation Laying Ceremony (1947)
New Marine Lines.
Art Deco was undoubtedly Bombay’s national architectural style, flourishing in the 1930s and 40s and openly challenging with its bright colours and muscular motifs, the sombre colonial styles of Neo-Gothic and Indo-Saracenic.
But it was with the building of Liberty cinema, that we see a culmination of Art Deco’s engagement with Indian nationalism. The cinema’s foundation laying ceremony was held in 1947, its name reflecting the state of the new nation, and it opened in 1949, as a space where only Hindi films would be screened.
New Marine Lines came to house the city’s most powerful expression of its modernity, cosmopolitanism and nationalism.
Photo courtesy Mr. Nazir Hoosein.
Archives: The complete invitation to the opening of the Bombay Central (1930)
In the 1800s, women from Bombay’s native communities were seldom seen at civic ceremonies such as the laying of the foundation stone of an institution or the institution’s opening. Newspapers regularly listed the names of the native and European men, and the few European women, who attended these occasions.
When The Bombay Gazette reported on the attendance of a few local ladies at a humble prize distribution ceremony of the Persian class of the Bombay Young Ladies’ Institution in 1862, it quickly published a correction, clarifying that no native ladies were in fact present!
With this invitation to the opening of the Bombay Central Station, we are pleased to introduce our new Archives section.