Fitzgerald Fountain will spring to life soon

Moved during the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, it will be reinstalled at Metro junction

A Lost piece of history is set to return to Mumbai’s streets. The BMC has decided to restore the famous Fitzgerald Fountain at its original location in Kalbadevi. The fountain and its lamp-post, erected in 1867, were one of the several relics of the British colonial era which were removed as a part of the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement in the 1960s. Civic officials have now got permission from the Mumbai Heritage Restoration Committee (MHCC) to restore and move the fountain from its current resting spot in the backyard of the Bhau Daji Lad Museum.

Pics credit: Kunal tripathi Instagram id: @mumbaiheritage
Pics credit: Kunal tripathi Instagram id: @mumbaiheritage

The 35-feet high Fitzgerald Fountain was located at the junction flanked by Metro Cinema and Kyani Bakery, where the dome of the subway now stands. The BMC will have to shift it a few metres from its original spot, narrowing the main road. Civic officials made a presentation before the MHCC in this matter in November. The committee, in a December 10 letter, stated that it has no objection to it. “We have got the nod from the heritage committee. The objective is to reinstall heritage structures wherever possible. We are also reinstalling a few pyaus (drinking-water fountains) from the British era,” informed Surendra Chavhan, assistant municipal commissioner, A Ward.

Consulting the BMC on this project is the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), which will call for tenders soon to appoint a conservation contractor. Pankaj Joshi, executive director of UDRI, said that the structure had quite a few pieces missing which would have to be restored with the help of cast iron.

“It is one of the most significant cast-iron monuments in the city because of its sheer scale and size. It has majestic features and vintage value. Creating a new foundation of a traffic island, keeping in mind the volume of traffic here, will also be a task,” he added. The restoration will take a year. The BMC has appointed an architect for this project. Once finished, the BMC will maintain it itself. It is still working out the expenditure.

The Fitzgerald Fountain’s history
The fountain bears the engraving, ‘In honour of the right honourable Sir Seymour Fitzgerald K.C.S.I — The Governor of Bombay — by the Esplanade committee.’ Fitzgerald governed Bombay from 1867 to 1872.

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