Monday, 27 May 2013

Lady Frere's Shrine

It is often said that the modernization of Bombay began under the regime of Sir Bartle Frere, who as the Governor of Bombay transformed the island city with a natural harbour inhabited by merchants into a splendid and populous city. It is often said that this period of Bartle Frere was the most important period for the modernization of the city. One of the few good things that the British did for the city was construct these beautiful public edifices and structures that rendered the city of Mumbai in natural beauty. These buildings which would later contribute to the permanent convenience and a shade of legacy that would encourage tourism in the long run. 

The general architecture in Bombay had been seen as a standing reproach. The beauties and noticeable features were due to the "bounty of nature" and people had hardly done anything to enhance its beauty by constructing stately buildings or erecting statues. While insisting upon the necessity of sculpture Bartle Frere said that sculpture and architecture were inseparably connected and that any large number of buildings of any architectural pretensions, without a great amount of sculptue was a simple impossibility.

Situated within the premises of the Jijamata Udyan in Byculla, the shrine of Lady Frere was erected as a subscription to commemorate the opening of the Victoria Gardens on November 19, 1862. It is a canopy that is indeed for the bust of Lady Frere, by Noble that takes a general form of the circular Greek temples. It is 35 feet in height and has been constructed out of Porebunder stone with six columns which are Corinthian in nature and unruffled. The construction of the shrine commenced under Mr. W. Tracey and was completed under Messrs. Scott and McClelland to whom all the buildings in the Victoria Gardens were entrusted upon the death of the former gentleman. 

The difficulties in attending to the construction of this shrine outnumbered the positive side and the description of this shrine was far greater than it was supposed to be. Therefore, considerable credit has been given to a certain a Mr. Campbell who ensured that this shrine was brought to a successful completion. 

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