Signage: American Express Bakery
Shop no. 87, Hill Road, Bandra.
Early advertisements of the American Express Bakery promoted its A.E.B. bread nourishingly made with milk and malt. At the turn of the 20th century ads for various products and establishments drew from the discourses of science, sanitation, health and physical strength.
The monogram AEB can still be found on the furniture at the immaculately preserved Bandra branch of the Bakery. Bombaywalla thanks Mr Chittibabu, manager of the branch, for his kind assistance.
Signage: The Parsee Lying-in Hospital (1895)
Prescott Road (presently G. Talwatkar Marg).
Medical and reformatory institutions had some of the most awkward names and addresses in Bombay. The name ‘Parsee Lying-in Hospital’ must have done little to reassure the public of the condition of the strictly Parsi patients on the premises.
In fact, the present occupiers of the premises, who run a magazine on the Parsis, have shifted their subscription office to an adjacent building. Perhaps the editor thought that a Parsi lying in hospital does little to reassure the public of the health of a Parsi magazine.
Another awkward address found in The Bombay Gazette –
Mr. Watson, No. 104, Lunatic Asylum Lane, Upper Colaba, near the Light House.
Hersh Acharya captures both the original and more recent spelling of Parsee and Parsi, with potted plants and all.
Signage: Grand Hotel (1922)
The Grand Hotel is not only a popular name for hotels across the globe it also refers to a genre of hotels.
Grand hotels were large establishments run by a manager and his staff (rather than the proprietor of the hotel), had an atmosphere of anonymity and availed of the latest technologies of lifts, electric fans and gadgets.
Scandals were good business for grand hotels. High passion romances and affairs, a small dose of suicides on the hotel premises, all became the stuff of urban legend.
Once again, DJ Murty in the house.
Signage: BB&CI Railway Administrative Offices
(1899) Churchgate (presently Western Railway Head Office).
As structures, streets and the city itself have been renamed over the last decades, monograms are intricate reminders of the original names and affiliations of structures in Bombay. This monogram of ‘BBCIR’, in safe keeping of a proud lion (and crow), is found atop the Bombay, Baroda & Central India (BB&CI) Railway Administrative Offices.
Once again, as Fitzgerald would say, the photograph is by Dj Murty.
Signage: Yazdani Bakery (1953)
Cowasji Patel Street, Fort.
Not only were bakeries amongst the earliest culinary establishments in Bombay, their proprietors were also the first to partake of the technological advancements in the trade. Flour Dressing Machines, Corn Mills, Patent Travelling Ovens, were amongst the equipment used in the city’s steam bakeries.
Bombay’s hotel proprietors on the other hand were slow to introduce culinary gadgets. Civil engineers were occasionally consulted to tackle the nuisance of smoke in their hotel kitchens.
Bombaywalla concedes that the neighbouring Poonawallas are the master bakers of Bombay Presidency.
Again, the photograph is shot by Dj Murty on Kodak 400 ISO film.