Category Archives: Watch

Zara Zara missing our maritime history

9 May, 2017
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Motifs: Ismail Buildings (1906)

Hornby Road, Fort (presently Zara Department Store, Dadabhai Naoroji {D.N.} Road).

Nautical motifs were important symbols for the Yusufs, a prominent Memon family invested in the shipping trade. The signboard of their office at Abdul Rehman Street had a representation of a boat which was ‘a singular attraction for seafarers for a long time’ reported The Times of India in 1914. The name ‘Agboatwalla’ was often added to the family name.

In the 1890s, the Yusufs purchased all the rights and titles of the firm Messrs. Shepherd and Company, progressing from vendors to owners of the firm well known for its coasting ships. A few years later, Haji Ismail Hassam, one of the three partners, bought the other family members out.

**Seafarers will now have to spot the nautical stripes on Zara’s clothing and turn to the Flora Fountain for the singular attraction in the vicinity.

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Oh, no! Pradeep Gomantak Bhojnalaya

1 January, 2017
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Flooring: Pradeep Gomantak Bhojnalaya (1970)
Sheri House, Gunbow Street, Fort (presently Rustom Sidhwa Marg).

It is sad to see that Pradeep Gomantak Bhojnalaya, a popular eatery in the Fort, has changed its flooring from the classic grey and black kota and cadappa stone combination to these slabs of artificial marble.

Checkered grey and black flooring linked several affordable eateries across the city— Pradeep Gomantak Bhojnalaya with Meher Cold Drink House on the same street in the Fort, and Crown Bakery Stores & Restaurant in Mahim.

In the course of 2016, the flooring of Pradeep Gomantak Bhojnalaya was thoughtlessly replaced and Crown Bakery was shut down to make way for the new metro line. That leaves Meher Cold Drink House and a few other eateries to remind us of patterns across the city that were once ubiquitous.

Thanks to Mustansir Dalvi for his assistance with this post.

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All of me

15 December, 2016
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Clocks: Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Clock Tower

(1880), Bazaar Gate Street, Fort.

From the time Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Esq. died in 1862, to the time this clock tower was built in his memory in 1880, Bombay’s commemorative culture had grown so ambitious that no single bust, fountain, clock tower or religious structure was going to be sufficient to honour a public figure, rather all the above had to be packed together to make a powerful statement.

The Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Clock Tower has been expertly restored by conservation architect Vikas Dilawari and the Kala Ghoda Association.

We eagerly await Mr Dilawari’s restoration of Flora Fountain.

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A Bombay without Byculla Railway Station

11 October, 2016
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Windows: Byculla Railway Station (1891)
De Lisle Road and Parel Road, Byculla.

The icons of Byculla seem to have spent portions of their long history relocating or contemplating relocating- the Khada Parsi statue was shifted from the junction of Bellasis and Clare Road to the junction of Clare and Parel Road in 1928; the Byculla Club regularly threatened to relocate from Bellasis Road to the Fort; and the Byculla Railway Station moved a little northwards to its present grand structure on Parel Road in 1891.

Yet it is inconceivable to imagine a Bombay without the Byculla Railway Station. It is a reminder of how Byculla served as the second city centre, after the Fort, for much of the 19th century.

The Mid-Day has recently reported the dismantling of the Station for the expansion of the railway lines between VT and Kurla. This would be an unsurmountable loss to the city and must be stopped.

This intricate ticket counter with the monogram of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) is just one of the examples of the fine architectural embellishments we are at the risk of losing.

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Freedom from vandals this Independence Day

15 August, 2016
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Signage: Great Western Building (1764)

(formerly Admiralty House), Apollo Street, Fort.

We are happy to report that on Independence Day we have cleaned this important historical plaque. The plaque had recently been vandalised.

Many thanks to Miss Nyrika and Miss Vasudha for their assistance and enthusiasm.

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