Category Archives: Archive

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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Esquire indeed!

12 January, 2017
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Seth Bomanji Hormasji  Wadia008

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.

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Liberty calling

24 December, 2016
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1947 The Foundation Laying Ceremony - Liberty-01

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.

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The invitation to the opening of the Bombay Central

13 July, 2016
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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.

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