Category Archives: Signage

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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Two ceremonies & a 160th anniversary

4 April, 2017
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Signage: Lady Willingdon Building for the Parsi Ambulance Division (1932)

1 Esplanade Road, Fort (presently M. G. Road).

Bombay’s buildings were inaugurated with two important ceremonies- the foundation stone laying ceremony and the opening ceremony.

These ceremonies drew from colonial civic practices, masonic rituals and indigenous customs such as marking the first stone with vermillion pigment and breaking a coconut over it, and opening the door to the building with a set of keys and declaring the building open.

The one-storey Lady Willingdon Building for the Parsi Ambulance Division was built remarkably fast with sethia Sir Hormusjee C. Dinshaw laying the foundation stone for the building on 18th October 1931 and Sir Fredrick Hugh Sykes, Governor of Bombay, inaugurating the building on 9th April 1932.

4th April, 2017 marks the 160th birth anniversary of Hormusjee Dinshaw.

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National logistics?

14 May, 2016
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Signage: The National Hindu Lodge

1st Floor, Prathna Samaj, New Queen’s Road.

It was probably the presence of a large number of modern facilities such as lodges, hotels and hospitals, that were meant for the exclusive use of particular communities that led to the term ‘Cosmopolitan’ being included in the names of establishments that were open to all.

Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Stores, a corner cafe across the National Hindu Lodge at Prathna Samaj is a good example of that.

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You’ve got to be taught to hate

6 October, 2014
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Signage: Banaji Atash Behram (Fire Temple)

(1845), junction of Queen’s Road and Thakurdwar Road, opposite Charni Road Station.

Ladies and children of all faiths can find solace in the nursery surrounding the Banaji Atash Behram, where several species and shades of plants grow side by side sukh thi ne samph sathe (in happiness and harmony).

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Don’t know much about history

8 July, 2014
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Don’t know much about history

Signage: Admiralty House (1764)

Apollo Street, Fort (presently Great Western Building, Bombay Samachar Marg).

This building holds the distinction of being put to the most high-profile uses in Bombay. It has variously served as the admiralty house, the governor’s residence and the recorder’s courthouse.

In 1883, Jewanjee & Company opened The Great Western Hotel on the premises. The Hotel was furnished and fitted to ensure ‘the greatest comfort to Residents and Visitors’. Not only did every bedroom have an attached bathroom with a constant supply of water, the setup had the approval of the best scientific authorities.

Jewanjee & Company did know a lot about technology.

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