Mumbai: Diwali fire claims cricket pitches at Wilson Gymkhana
The heritage structure of Wilson College Gymkhana was not the only thing that was damaged in the blaze on Diwali night. It was only later that it was discovered that the newly refurbished grounds had also been ruined.
The fire gutted the top floor and roof of the heritage gymkhana building, but in the process of dousing the fire,
Later this month, a cricket match was to be held to commemorate the opening of the new cricket pitches, but even this had to be cancelled due to the damage.
When mid-day visited the gymkhana, it was immediately evident that the fire had gutted the top floor and roof of the beautiful heritage building, but the two-hour operation to douse the fire had also left mounds of ash and deep tyre tracks on the ground.
The newly refurbished ground was also ruined. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Nadeem Memon, the ground’s curator said, “Since July, we were working to make cricket pitches on the ground and level the outfield. The fire ruined all that work. Seven practice cricket pitches too have been ruined.”
Read Story: Let's restore heritage to its former glory
Not only did the commemorative cricket match have to be cancelled, but structural damage to the gymkhana building forced Wilson College to change the venue for annual sports day — to be held in December — to the university ground in Churchgate.
Wilson College Registrar Pradeep Abhyankar said a report on the damage to the building and ground will be sent to the BMC.
“Restoration will begin in some time. The Gymkhana is a part of the Wilsonian legacy and will always be,” said Wilson College principal, Vishwas Sirwaiaya.
Wilson College was founded in 1832 by missionary Rev John Wilson. It began as a school in Girgaum. The college came into being in 1836, while the existing building was completed in 1889. The Wilson College Gymkhana was founded by former principal, Dr Dugald Mackichan on March 17, 1910. Until 1945, all sports meets of Wilson College were held at the university pavilion, after which they were shifted to the gymkhana, which has facilities for outdoor as well as indoor sports.