Monday, July 5, 2010
The Secretariat [Bombay].--Photographer: Unknown Medium: Photographic print Date: 1870
Photograph of the Secretariat building, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1870s in Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra, from an album of 40 prints mostly dating from the 1860s. Bombay, the capital of Maharashtra and one of India's major industrial centres and a busy port, was originally the site of seven islands on the west coast, sparsely populated by Koli fisherfolk. 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. By the 19th century Bombay was a prosperous centre for commerce. The removal of the ramparts of the fort had opened up the city to fresh developments in architecture, and in the second half of the 19th century Bombay witnessed accelerated building activity fuelled by its booming maritime trade. A collection of grand public buildings sprang up at the Esplanade and city centre. The Bombay Secretariat was completed in 1874 and designed by Captain Henry St. Clair Wilkins in the Venetian Gothic style. With its arcaded verandahs and huge gable over the west facade, it was a monument to the civic pride of Bombay's British rulers.