Category Archives: Structures

Gargoyle: Town Hall (1833)

12 April, 2013
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Town Hall (1833)

Town Hall (1833)
Fort (presently Asiatic Society of Mumbai).

The temperament of the gargoyles in Bombay is determined by the style of the structures from which they protrude. This benign creature belongs to the solid, calm façade of the Town Hall, a landmark city structure, in neo-classical style.

Bombaywalla’s coverage of gargoyles will range from the benign to the spectacularly grotesque.

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Façade: St. Thomas’ Cathedral

8 April, 2013
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St. Thomas’ Cathedral (1718)

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

St. Thomas’ Cathedral, initially called Bombay Church, was located at the heart of the Fort, the walled settlement within which the city’s early inhabitants lived. Church Gate, one of the three gates of the Fort, was named after this church, consecrated into a cathedral in 1837.

The Fort walls were demolished in 1864.

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A convincing Adenwalla

5 April, 2013
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Sir Hormusjee Cowasjee Dinshaw

Statue: Sir Hormusjee Cowasjee Dinshaw
(1857- 1939, Statue 1949), Church Gate Street (presently Veer Nariman Road)

Often, to Hormusjee’s full name was added another surname ‘Adenwalla’. In the 1800s individuals chose to fashion their identity with surnames that usually reflected an occupation or a native or contemporary place of residence. Hormusjee made a more convincing Adenwalla in Bombay than in the port city of Aden in Yemen, where everyone was technically an Adenwalla.

A small ceremony to garland the statue is held every year on April 4th, Hormusjee’s birthday.

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Motifs: Royal Alfred Sailors’ Home (1876)

1 April, 2013
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Royal Alfred Sailors’ Home

Royal Alfred Sailors’ Home (1876)

Junction of Apollo Bunder Road and Apollo Street (presently Maharashtra Police Headquarters, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Colaba, entry prohibited).

The construction of the Sailors’ Home was a significant step towards containing and domesticating the population of seamen in the city, long considered drunk, disorderly and prone to recreate at taverns, boarding houses, grog shops and brothels.

Notice the three nautical motifs.

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Signage: Elphinstone Circle (1872)

29 March, 2013
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Elphinstone Circle (1872)

 

Elphinstone Circle (1872)
Fort (presently Horniman Circle).

The Circle was named after Lord Elphinstone, Governor of Bombay from 1853-1860. An initial proposal to name the Circle after Queen Victoria was turned down in favour of the Governor. The Baghdadi Jewish merchant prince David Sassoon, who had donated Rs 50,000 towards the initial proposal, withdrew his funding on the selection of Elphinstone’s name over Victoria’s; giving us a sense of how the politics of naming worked in colonial Bombay.

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