Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oriental building & flora fountain-(BOMBAY — YEAR 1885)

One of the first few buildings to come up in the area was the Oriental Building in 1885, which cost Rs 87,000 and initially housed the Cathedral School. In 1893, the building was sold to the Oriental Life Assurance Company; and with the proceeds the present Senior School building, a beautiful blend of Gothic and Indian architecture, was erected and occupied in 1896.

An exquisitely sculpted monument, Flora Fountain lies at the southern end of the historic Hornby Road (Dadabhai Naoroji Road), called the Mile Long Road, in South Bombay. It cost Rs 47,000 or 9,000 pounds sterling to build in the year 1864. And was constructed by the Agri–Horticultural Society of Western India, out of a donation of Rs 20,000 by Cursetjee Fardoonjee Parekh.
The history of Flora Fountain can be traced to the time when the Old Mumbai Fort was demolished in 1860 as part of the then Governor, Sir Bartle Frère’s efforts to improve the civic sanitation and the urban space requirements of the growing city. As a result, Hornby Road was widened into a broad avenue; on its western side commercial buildings were constructed in Neo Classical and Gothic Revival designs. Flora Fountain was positioned at the same spot where the Church gate stood before its demolition.

Designed by R Norman Shaw and sculpted in imported Portland stone by James Forsythe, the fountain was to be named after Governor Frère at first but then took on the name of the Roman goddess who formed a part of the fountain’s design. It was meant to be placed at the Victoria Gardens (Byculla), but in 1908 the area was cleared to create space for pedestrians and traffic. Since its unveiling on Hornby Road, it has stood proud and elegant with only a coating of white oil paint marring its antiquity to an extent.