Bombay High Court, Rajabai Clock Tower & Secretariat Facing Back Bay, 1880 Photo

oval maidan

bombay high court, rajabai clock tower, secretariat

Old 1880 photo of Bombay High Court, Rajabai Clock Tower & Secretariat facing Back Bay. The Gothic structures shown from left to right: The Secretariat, Rajabai Clock Tower & University, and High Court. The building on the left of the high court is possibly the Wellington Lines, although not entirely sure. Beyond the Oval Maidan would have been the Back Bay (not in picture).

The Churchgate Railway Terminus was once near the shores of the Back Bay. But after reclamation, the shore became a little further off from Churchgate. The Secretariat was designed by Colonel St Clair Williams of the Royal Engineers and completed in 1874. It now houses a number of government offices. The 280-foot Rajabai Clock Tower and the library buildings were funded by Premchand Roychand. An industrialist and philanthropist in Bombay (Mumbai) in the 19th century.

The Tower was designed by Gilbert Scott an English architect and the foundation stone laid in 1869, the construction was completed in 1878. Roychand named it after his mother Rajabai. The Bombay High Court is the 2nd largest public building in the city after the Victoria Terminus. Designed by Colonel J A Fuller again of the Royal Engineers, it was completed in 1878. Facing the Gothic buildings is the wide open space of the Oval Maidan. Following the demolition of the Fort, the vast Esplanade (open space) became fragmented into four major subspaces: the Cooperage, Oval, Cross, and Azad Maidans.

Did you know – the architectural ornamental sculptures comprise a strange medley of crocodiles, boars, dogs, snakes, foxes, storks, and so on. There is even a monkey judge wearing an eye patch. There is no clear answer as to how or why these were created. 

Past posts –Pensive Lady British India Watercolour Sketch, 1837., Devlali Military Canteen – Old Photo 1900.

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10½ x 8½ inch

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