As Easter draws near, it might be a good idea to do a dekko of some of the city’s most famous, earliest churches; many like the St Thomas Cathedral that double up as museums. It was built as the city’s first Anglican church by the earliest British settlers in Mumbai. Governor Gerald Aungier authorised its construction way back in 1672 but work reached a standstill after the walls of the church were complete.
Renewed attempts and fresh funds from wealthy British residents saw the construction fully complete, nearly forty years later, when its doors were open for services on Christmas Day in 1718. In 1816, it was consecrated in the name of St Thomas, the Apostle of India and in 1838, it was designated the Cathedral Church of the See.
The Gothic-styled clock and tower was added in 1838. Some of the outstanding memorials honour Colonel Burr, who commanded the Battle of Kirkee (1817), Captain GD Hardinge, who died in battle when the English captured the French cruiser Piemontaise (1808), and Colonel John Campell, defender of Mysore against Tipu Sultan in 1784.
The church with its unmistakeble spire, still has splendid oyster-shell windows that allow only a misty, pearly, diffused light to enter its interiors. Such effort and detail was put into its construction that even it’s roof was cannonball-proof! It was the this church that lent its name to one of the gates of the long-gone Fort, as Church Gate. Later, when the railway station nearby was constructed, it carried forward this slice of history as well.
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