David Sassoon Librar

152, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mantralaya, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400032, India

Simona Bertolaso



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Looking on to the Kala Ghoda, on Rampart Row, this Romanesque structure, completed in 1870, is built from the same yellow Malad stone as the rest of the buildings in the row– Elphinstone College, the Army and Navy Building and Watson’s Hotel.

The building was designed by Scott McClelland and Company and built by the architects J. Campbell and D. E. Gosling at the cost of Rs. 125,000. David Sassoon donated Rs. 60,000 for this building, and the rest of the cost was borne by the government. The idea of the library was mooted by twelve mechanics employed in the Bombay Mint. It was presented to the city by Sir Albert Sassoon, the son of David Sassoon.

The columns are of black (Deccan) trap and the dressing is in random rubble masonry. The ground floor facade of the three-storeyed building has pointed arches decorated in white and black stripes protecting the arcade which is characteristic of the area. The foyer with its multicoloured Minton floor tiles, opens, at the back, into a garden. Above the entrance portico is a white stone head of David Sassoon. The first floor is reached by a winding wooden staircase. Turrets at each corner and the central tower give the building a church-like air.

(Kaumudi Marathe in Times of India, Bombay. November 12, 1995.)

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