Category Archives: Structures

Motifs: St. Thomas’ Cathedral (1718)

3 May, 2013
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St. Thomas’ Cathedral (1718)
Church Gate Street, Fort (presently Veer Nariman Road)

The colonial government regularly reminded Bombay’s citizenry that it subsidized the cost of divine worship at St. Thomas’ Cathedral. Pew rents, a common means through which churches generated income by charging worshippers for the use of pews, were not imposed, states city directories from the late 1800s.

Notice a lady’s Louis Vuitton handbag in the corner that could well do with subsidizing.

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One sip at a time

29 April, 2013
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Meher Cold Drink House

Doors: Meher Cold Drink House (1939)
Mackawee Mansion, corner of Gunbow Street and Parsi Bazaar Street, Fort (presently Rustom Sidhwa Marg).

Well into the late 1800s, strict caste and purity codes prevented the experience of inter-dining amongst the native populations of Bombay. Pan-supari, rosewater and nosegays, were distributed at the end of public/semi public gatherings, but no food. As the benefits of inter-dining were felt, cold drinks were first introduced for consumption, gradually making way for solid foods.

Meher Cold Drink House, although a sprightly 74, is an example of the early establishments that facilitated the experience of cosmopolitan drinking and eventually dining.

Young Bombaywalla was introduced to the delights of Meher Cold Drink House by her mother Veera, a regular at the unassuming eateries in the Fort.

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Signage: Bandukwala Building

26 April, 2013
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Bandukwala Building

Bandukwala Building
British Hotel Lane, Fort

Bandukwala Building is a wonderful example of a name typical to structures in the city. The most popular formula for naming was a cosmopolitan mix of a native proper name (in this case probably a surname Bandukwala) with a word in English that suggests a type of structure (Building).
The reasons for choosing Building over some of the other terms used to denote structures (Mansion, Villa, Lodge) is unclear, though the trends seem to suggest the favouring of alliterations.

It is a shame that tangles of wires mar the façade of Bandukwala Building.

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From dabbas to a bhojnalaya in the Fort

22 April, 2013
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Pradeep Gomantak Bhojnalaya

Flooring: Pradeep Gomantak Bhojnalaya (1970)
Sheri House, Gunbow Street, Fort (presently Rustom Sidhwa Marg).

Dashrath Pundalik Amonkar, proprietor of the Bhojnalaya (eating house), began his career in catering supplying dabbas (tiffins) to Maharashtrian migrants to Bombay. In 1970 he set up the Bhojnalaya, which can seat up to 25 customers.

An article from the newspaper Lokmat (displayed on premises) notes that the Bhojnalaya has a loyal and cosmopolitan clientele despite the presence of more elaborate eating houses in the Fort locality.

Prices ranges from Rs 60 for the Vegetarian Rice Plate to Rs 150 for the Pomplet Rice Plate.

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Portico: BB&CI Railway Administrative Offices (1899)

19 April, 2013
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BB&CI Railway Administrative Offices (1899)
Churchgate (presently Western Railway Head Office).

2013 is an important anniversary year for the Indian Railways and their structures. The first passenger train left Bombay for Thana on April 16th 1853, 160 years ago, hauled by three locomotives named Sindh, Sultan and Sahib.

The façade of the Bombay, Baroda & Central India (BB&CI) Railway Administrative Offices has been lit up this week in celebration (see our gallery above). A Google Doodle marks the 160 year anniversary.

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