Monday, July 5, 2010
Government House, Parell [Parel, Bombay].-Photographer: Unknown Medium: Photographic print Date: 1860
Photograph of Government House at Parel in Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra, taken by an unknown photographer, from an album of 40 prints of the 1860s. The busy port and industrial hub of Bombay is the capital of Maharashtra. During British rule, it was the administrative capital of the Bombay Presidency. Extending over a peninsula into the Arabian Sea on the west coast of India, Bombay prospered with maritime trade and became the chief commercial centre of the Arabian Sea. Originally a collection of fishing villages of the Koli community built on seven islands,
Bombay was by the 14th century controlled by the Gujarat Sultanate who ceded it to the Portuguese in the 16th century. In 1661 it passed to the English as part of the dowry brought to Charles II by the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza. This building was originally a Portuguese Franciscan friary, completed in 1673 and taken over by Governor Boone in 1719 as a country residence after which it became the official summer home of Governors of Bombay, and Parel developed as an affluent district. In 1771, when William Hornby resided here as Governor, it became the new Government House in place of the original one in the Fort. The banqueting hall and ballroom are housed in the shell of the original vaulted chapel, and were much admired for their splendour. Several mills now sprang up on the newly-reclaimed flats around Parel and the ensuing congestion and pollution resulted in the shifting of the Governor's residence to a new Government House at Malabar Point. After the plague epidemics in the 1890s, the house at Parel was converted into the Haffkine Research Institute.