Bombay (City)

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Bombay (City)
Presidency: Bombay
Coordinates: 19.017656°N, 72.85618°E
Altitude: 8 m (26 ft)
Present Day Details
Place Name: Mumbai
State/Province: Maharashtra
Country: India
Transport links
Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway
Great Indian Peninsula Railway
Bombay Port Trust Railway

See page Bombay Railways & Stations for details

FibiWiki Maps
See our interactive map of this location showing
places of interest during the British period
Bombay (City)

Bombay was the capital of the Bombay Presidency and the headquarters of the district of the same name during the British period. Now called Mumbai, it is the capital of the state of Maharashtra.


Originally there were Seven Islands of Bombay:

They were gradually merged by land reclamation until they were one land mass by 1845.


Located on the inlet of Bom Bahia (beautiful bay), the city was Portuguese controlled from 1534. It passed to British rule in 1661 when it was received by Charles II as part of his marriage dowry from his Portuguese wife, Catherine of Braganza. During this time there were three Royal Governors. In 1668 it was granted to the East India Company for a lease of ten pounds a year and was administered by Company Governors. These became Crown Governors when rule was transferred to the UK government. Until the 18th century, Bombay consisted of seven islands. The islands were merged to form the present day location of the city.

Compared to the other Presidencies, Bombay was of minor significance before 1800. The English were very much the minority. Recognising this, a liberal attitude encouraged progressive Indian cotton merchants, this freedom resulted in Bombay's economic importance. It was the cotton industry that spurred economic migration to the city from surrounding rural areas, and saw Bombay’s population grow rapidly:

  • Year Population
  • 1700 10,000
  • 1800 100,000
  • 1900 775 000

Following the Battle of Kirkee 1817 and the defeat of the Peshwas, the Bhor Ghat road to Poona opened 1830, allowing greater access to the Deccan cotton fields. Bombay became the commercial centre of the Malwa opium trade, and opium also became the basis for the prosperity of Bombay.[1] Railways much improved goods transport, the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR)opened in 1864. This allowed Bombay to fill the global demand for cotton resulting from shortages as a consequence of the American Civil War’s blockade of its southern ports(1860-1865). The opening of the Suez Canal 1869 further shortened the passage to England. The resultant economic boom saw wealthy businessmen sponsor many civic buildings – University Library Buildings, Jamsetji Jijibhoy (JJ) School of Art, and the Mechanics Institute. From the 1860‘s many municipal improvement schemes focused on improving health and sanitation.

Because of the cosmopolitan mix of Bombay Society, it is architecturally unlike the most of colonial india's neo-classicism; the wealth citizens of Bombay, and the city's Public Works Department opted for Venetian-Gothic designs with alterations to suit the Indian Climate. Victoria Terminus the station of the GIPR, adorned with Indian motifs represents this patronage. Bombay introduced Modernist architecture to India seeing new concrete construction methods as an inclusive architecture available to India's masses in the lead up to Independence.

Bombay City Improvement Trust

The Bombay City Improvement Trust was created on December 9, 1898, in response to the Bobbay plague epidemic of 1896. It was created through an Act of the Parliament. The Municipal Corporation and the government handed over all vacant lands to this body. The Trust undertook a host of measures to improve sanitary and living conditions in the city. The planned opening up of suburbs was due to the Trust [2]

The Trust widened roads in the central, crowded, parts of the town. A new east-west road, the Princess Street, was constructed to channel the sea air into the centre of the crowded residential areas. The north-south Sydenham Road (now Mohammedali Road) was also constructed with this end in view [2].

The Dadar-Matunga-Wadala-Sion suburban development was started in 1899 with the express purpose of relieving congestion to the south. Well-laid out plots, with mixed land-use patterns marked these sections. Completed in 1900, access to these parts were through the newly completed Mohammedali Road [2].

The Trust was later merged with the Municipal Corporation and known as the Bombay Development Department/Directorate.

FIBIS Resources


St Thomas Church, Bombay
Colaba Church Interior, Bombay



Roman Catholic
Addresses of all current Catholic Churches in Mumbai (Archdiocese of Mumbai). See also Bombay in the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913.

  • Cathedral of the Holy Name
  • Church of the Holy Trinity
  • Gloria Church - aka Nossa Senhora de Gloria, founded 1632, at Byculla
  • Mount Mary Church, Bandra - aka the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount
  • Our Lady of Egypt - founded 1606
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel - aka Nossa Senhora de Bom Concelho, founded 1596
  • Our Lady of Health - aka Nossa Senhora de Saude, built 1794
  • Our Lady of Hope - aka Nossa Senhora da Esperanca, demolished
  • Our Lady of Salvation - aka Nossa Senhora de Salvação or the Portuguese Church, founded 1596, current structure is 1974
  • St. Andrew's Church - built 1575
  • St Michaels - founded by the Portuguese in 1534 (current building dates only to 1973)
  • St Peter's, Bandra - Jesuit church. Original building 1852, current building 1938, consecrated 1964


  • Free Church of Scotland
  • Wesleyan Methodist Church - at Colaba
  • St Nicholas
  • Synagogue Megan David, Byculla 1861
  • Synagogue Kneseth Elijah, The Fort 1888


See also List of Cemeteries

  • European Burial Ground, Queens Road
  • Mavgav, Byculla, the oldest cemetery (Bene-Israel)


The English established the Bombay Education Society 1815 with the primary object of educating European and Anglo-Indian children. But from the very beginning the society admitted Indian children to its schools without making religious education compulsory. In 1818 the society started English schools in Bombay city. In 1820 it established a separate committee, the Bombay Native Education Society to look after the education of Indian children

  • Fort Proprietary School was opened in 1859.
  • Scottish Schools (Byculla),
  • Scottish Schools (Fort),
  • Cathedral Choir School (Fort)
  • Cathedral High Scool
  • Alexandra Girls School
  • Islamia School
St Mary's High School, Bombay



  • The High School of St. Xavier
  • St. Mary's High School


  • Girls High Schools, at Clare road, Par el and the Fort.
  • St. Joseph's Foundling Home
  • St. Vincent's Home for poor women and girl

Orphan Schools

See Orphans-Bombay

Tertiary Education

  • Elphinstone College 1835
  • Grant Medical Institution 1845
  • Bombay Law School
  • The Government Law College, 1855
  • Wilson College
  • St Xavier’s College (Catholic)
  • The Sydenham College
  • Jamsetji Jijibhoy School of Art
  • Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute


  • European General Hospital
  • Cama Hospital opened on the Esplanade in August 1886
  • Bomanji Edulji Albless Obstetric Hospital in 1890
  • St. George's Hospital Government (for Europeans) in December 1892
  • The Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital 1868
  • Acworth Leprosy Hospital , Wadala was established in 1890
  • National Medical College on 4 September 1921
  • Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital in 1927
  • Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children in 1929
  • Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College was started in June 1925,
  • King Edward Memorial Hospital in February 1926
  • The Nair Hospital Dental College
  • The Ismail Yusuf College, established in 1929-30


  • Bombay Chronicle, 1918-1933
  • Times of India, 1873-1942
  • Bombay Gazette,
  • Advocate of India (Anglo-Indian)


Barracks, Colaba
  • Sion Fort
Sion Hillock Fort Wikipedia


The Yacht Club Bombay
Marine Lines Bombay

Growing up in Bombay

  • Maxine Steller was born in 1930, daughter of Bill Taylor who was in the Bombay Police Force. The family lived in quarters behind the various police stations he was assigned to, including some very dangerous areas. She describes her early life, including becoming the female singer in a band, and the conditions before and after independence, until she left in 1950 for Australia.[3]

Also see

External links


Historical images online

  • Panorama of Bombay c 1837 “taken from the top of Sir Jenisedjie Jeejeebhoy's house - drawn and coloured on the spot by T. Wingate” University of Cambridge Digital Library.

Historical books online

A Voyage To Surat In The Year 1689 by John Ovington, edited by H G Rawlinson, with commentary, 1929 Some words may be missing due to the scanning. 1994 reprint of the 1929 edition
A Financial Chapter in the History of Bombay City 1864-65 by Dinsha Edulji Wacha 2nd Edition 1910 Includes the failure of the Bank of Bombay.
Rise and Growth of Bombay Municipal Government by D. E. Wacha 1913
The Bombay Riots of 1874 by “W” (Printed for Private Circulation). Printed at the Times of India, Office. 1874 Google Books. Verses.
  • Bombay Riots of August 1893 by Times of India. GIPE Digitised Books, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics - Pune.
  • Bombay and Western India: a Series of Stray Papers by James Douglas 1893 Volume 1, Volume 2
Glimpses of Old Bombay and Western India, with other Papers by James Douglas 1900
  • The Times of India Directory, published in Bombay.
See Directories online - The Times of India Directory for publications 1897 and 1932-1954.
Bombay place-names and street-names : an excursion into the by-ways of the history of Bombay City by Samuel T Sheppard 1917
Bombay by Samuel T Sheppard 1932., mirror from Digital Library of India. Historical aspects.


  1. “Narcotics and empire” from Frontline-The Hindu Volume 23 - Issue 10: 20 May - 2 June 2006, now archived; Article by Dipesh Karmarkar Discussions of the book Opium City, The Making of Early Victorian Bombay by Amar Farooqui 2006, available at the British Library UIN: BLL01013423658 .
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wikipedia "Bombay City Improvement Trust"; Retrieved 14 Mar 2017
  3. "Maxine Steller’s Bombay"