Sunday, 12 May 2013

David Sassoon Clock Tower

One of the first things that strikes anyone about Mumbai is its overwhelming pace. It does not have to be so. Contrary to what you might think, the city does have its own rhythm that takes a little while to hear; its a complex but melodious flute that allows one to tap the music that all of Mumbai seems to know. Yet, we don't. Hence, why not stop and allow ourselves some time to learn and appreciate the city's chiming pulse? 


Pic Courtesy: thatandthisinmumbai.wordpress.com
The David Sassoon Clock Tower which is located at the entrance of the Jijamata Udyan in Byculla is an illustrious addition to the heritage of Mumbai. The original architects of this clock tower were Messrs Scott, McClelland and Company. The cost incurred for the construction of the clock tower was a princely sum of Rs. 30,000 which was entirely borne by the Jewish businessman David Sassoon. The style of the clock tower is Italian measuring 12 square feet at the base and rising to  about 75 feet in height. The base plinths are firmly cast in trap stones while the body is made up of Porebunder stone, with ornamental tile panels occasionally introduced. 

The key stones of arches at the ground floor of the clock tower are made of terracotta by Messrs Blashfield & Co. and contain subjects that represent the times of the day: morning, noon, evening and night. The brackets, finials to balusters and the large key stones are also executed in terracotta. Together, these buildings are calculated in a manner that would receive an eight day quarter turret clock, which would strike the hours and chime the Cambridge quarters. It is provided with four patented opal glass dials which are four feet in diameter. 


Pic Courtesy: thatandthisinmumbai.wordpress.com
The construction of the clock tower began in January 1864 and was delayed due to the failure of the original contractors who could not carry out the work in a satisfactory manner. Following which, the construction of the clock tower was handed over to Messrs Raghupati Chintamon and Co. who completed the structure.
Together, the floor is paved with Minton tiles and upon completion, a hust of the donor David Sassoon in white marble was placed at the centre. 

P.S.: At the time of writing this, the clock tower was undergoing restoration. However, Ms. Sudha G.  has been kind enough to allow me to reproduce the photographs of the David Sassoon Clock Tower that were clicked prior to the restoration process. Thank you so much, Sudhaji! 

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