Tag Archives: Fort

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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Two hotels, two Pestonjees & a fire

2 December, 2016
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British-Hotel-Lane

Signage: British Hotel Lane

Fort.

Some establishments live on in locations long after they have closed down. Messrs. Pestonjee Sorabjee & Co. shut the British Hotel in late 1862, unceremoniously auctioning its dining and breakfast sets, linen and Thurston’s slate billiard tables.

Other hotels that subsequently appeared in the lane had to accommodate the older hoteliering presence. The address of the English Hotel run by Pestonjee Bapoojee curiously read- English Hotel, British Hotel Lane, Apollo Street.

A massive fire in the lane has brought its name back in the spotlight.

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Sir JJ’s gift rooster?

28 November, 2016
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Motifs: Sir J.J. College of Architecture

78/3 Hornby Road (presently D.N. Road).

Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy’s gifts included hospitals, schools, animal shelters and museums and donations to innumerable charitable causes across the globe. He was the first Indian to be conferred a knighthood and baronetcy, in 1843 and 1858 respectively. The baronetcy possibly dulled the prospects of large-scale philanthropic activity by subsequent generations of the family. Descendants were required to wait to inherit the title at the death of their father, rather than actively work towards acquiring it.

Jejeebhoy died in 1859, a few years before the Fort walls were demolished to create a new city centre. His gifts were built on plots of land in areas like Byculla and Bhuleshwar. Today they seem conspicuous by their absence in the Fort.

On the other hand sethia David Sassoon’s legacy is imprinted in the Fort, despite his death in 1864, the year the Fort walls were finally demolished. His ambitious son Albert ensured that the institute his father had recently funded, was built on a prominent plot in the new city centre.

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Esplanade Emergency

11 September, 2016
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Interiors: Lady Willingdon Building for the Parsi Ambulance Division (1932)

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

Though located at 1 Esplanade Road, the Lady Willingdon Building for the Parsi Ambulance Division was in fact the last of the great medical institutions to be built on the Esplanade.

Once the grassy expanse that surrounded the Fort, the Esplanade was developed as part of the new city centre after the Fort walls had been destroyed in the 1860s.

By the 1890s, the Esplanade was dotted with medical institutions catering to women- the Bomanjee Edaljee Allbless Obstetric Hospital (1890), the Parsee Lying-in Hospital (1895) and the Pestanjee Hormusjee Cama Hospital for Women and Children (1896).

Three decades later, in naming the facility of the Parsi Ambulance Division, Lady Willingdon Building, the prominence of women on the promenade continued.

Hashim Badani shoots effortlessly on an emergency visit.

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