Category Archives: Staircases

The age of Art Deco

27 June, 2016
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Staircases: Liberty (1949)

New Marine Lines.

The opening of the great cinemas Regal in 1933 and Liberty in 1949, can neatly mark the age of Art Deco in Bombay.

During this period, Art Deco transformed the cityscape with its streamlined forms, colourful facades and iconography of speed and travel.

Hashim Badani gives Liberty a good dekho.

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Watchman you don’t have to pull out the big stick

25 May, 2016
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Staircases: Ballard Estate

When small migrant communities were establishing their presence in Bombay in 1870s, the professional tools they carried as well as their turbans, became important markers of their identity.

Sticks helped quickly identify the community of ‘Purdasees’, hillmen from the North West Provinces, who largely served as watchman in the city.

Hersh Acharya pulls out his big camera.

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Where have all the Catholics gone?

28 April, 2016
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Staircases: David & Company (1953)

1st Floor, Rivendell House, 2nd Dhobi Talao Lane, Dhobi Talao.

The Catholics of Dhobi Talao may have all ‘migrated to the suburbs’, yet David & Company continues to grow, diversifying their business of printing invitation cards to selling wedding gowns, christening outfits and religious goods.

The firm even wanted to buy the premises of the erstwhile Bastani & Co. on the ground floor, but seems to have settled for enclosing their existing balcony and the Art Deco grills that adorned it, on the first floor.

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Passage from India

30 March, 2014
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passage from india

Staircase: Gateway of India (1924)

Apollo Bunder.

‘By way of an anniversary tribute,’ Dr. Prashant Kidambi presents us with this post-

We do not know much about the English sailors who first set foot in Bombay in October 1626, but we do know about the last British soldiers to leave its shores. On 28 February 1948, the men of the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, slow-marched through the Gateway of India into the pages of history. Thousands lined the streets to witness the ‘simple and solemn’ ceremony. Indian soldiers and sailors accorded the departing British troops a guard of honour, accompanied by a rendition of Auld Lang Syne; the British band reciprocated with Vande Mataram. And then they were gone, ‘farewells echoing across the water, till the launches were far out to sea’.

Dr. Prashant Kidambi is a Senior Lecturer in Colonial Urban History at the University of Leicester.

Photo- Illustrated London News (London, England), Saturday, March 13, 1948; pg. [281]; Issue 5682.

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Hot Diggity Dog Diggity

26 July, 2013
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Staircases: Town Hall (1833)

Staircases: Town Hall (1833)

Fort (presently Asiatic Society of Mumbai).

Dogs in Bombay have not always had it easy. In the early 1800’s the colonial government passed regulations permitting the culling of stray dogs during the hot seasons. In 1832, the culling was particularly indiscriminate, leading to the Bombay Dog Riots of 1832. The native inhabitants of Bombay, outraged by the killings, attacked European constables, blocked the supplies to the garrison at Colaba and shut their commercial establishments in protest; effectively bringing the city to a complete halt.

Currently, dogs across India are in danger of being destroyed by speeding cars of the government of Gujarat.

This pensive dog and model in motion are captured by Hersh Acharya.

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