Mumbai: 157-year-old fountain back in place, in all its glory

Updated: 01 October, 2020 07:23 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Fitzgerald Fountain, many missing parts of which were replaced, reinstalled at Metro Junction

An undated file picture of Fitzgerald Fountain and its lamp post, which was erected in 1867. Pic credit/udri.org
An undated file picture of Fitzgerald Fountain and its lamp post, which was erected in 1867. Pic credit/udri.org

More than a year after the BMC started building the foundation for Fitzgerald Fountain at the Metro junction in Marine Lines, the restored parts of the 157-year-old structure were finally shifted to their forever home on Wednesday. The civic officials say only the finishing touches remain and that the cast iron fountain will be functional within a month.

The civic body had started restoring the fountain in 2018, but they realised that around 200 parts were missing. The restoration team, comprising 150 experts and staff members, prepared a detailed design of the fountain so that they could cast moulds for the replicas of the missing pieces.

Parts of the Fitzgerald Fountain being unloaded for restoration work at the Metro junction, on Wednesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Parts of the Fitzgerald Fountain being unloaded for restoration work at the Metro junction, on Wednesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Lamp to be ready in 15 days

One of the pieces was a lamp that was later found in the drawings of another identical fountain that was erected in Northamptonshire in 1863 and was built in the Eagle foundry. Using the drawings, a lamp made out of aluminium has been constructed.

"We have completed the frame of the lamp and are now waiting for the glass that is being made in a workshop in Reay Road. The work was delayed due to the lockdown, but we are now expecting it in another 15 days," said one of the experts working on the project.

Workers unload the parts of the Fitzgerald Fountain at the Metro Junction, on Wednesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Workers unload the parts of the Fitzgerald Fountain at the Metro Junction, on Wednesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Work on the rest of the structures was completed in February, but the lockdown halted the remaining work. And, due to the prolonged exposure to rain, the structure that had already been oxidized had rusted in a few places.

Re-polish needed

"We will polish and oxidise the structure again after which we will add three coats of polyurethane. We need dry weather for two-three days for the coating to dry after which it will have a finishing similar to the Khada Parsi in Byculla," said the expert.

One of the parts that has been restored
One of the parts that has been restored

Civic officials said the work on the platform at the Metro Junction is nearly over and the fountain will be functional within a month.

Water connection ready

"We have constructed the platform with Basalt Stone and we will set up a plaque at the site that will include the historical relevance of this heritage structure. The water connection at the site is ready, we only have to link it to the fountain," said a civic official from the heritage department.

The structure weighing around 12-13 tonne was shifted in the early hours of Wednesday. The base will now be assembled over the next few days.

First erected in 1867

The Fitzgerald Fountain was erected in 1867 at the Metro Junction in Dhobi Talao to mark the arrival of Sir William Robert Seymour Vesey-Fitzgerald, who served as Governor of Bombay from 1867 to 1872. It was later pulled down and placed at the lawns behind the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, where it was left in a state of neglect.

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First Published: 01 October, 2020 06:13 IST

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