Marine Lines fountain work: BMC treads cautiously to avoid damage

Updated: May 22, 2019, 07:58 IST | Arita Sarkar

BMC digs trial pits around Metro junction to avoid damage to subway, procures its design plans for reference

Marine Lines fountain work: BMC treads cautiously to avoid damage
A wooden part of the fountain and Where the light will be placed

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has started work on building the foundation for the restoration of the 156-year-old Fitzgerald fountain at the Metro junction in Marine Lines. Due to the location of the traffic island (where it will be installed), which stands above the Metro subway, the Heritage Department is treading with caution and digging trial pits to ensure that they don't damage the structure of the subway.

Far from subway slabs

Officials from the Heritage Department said that they have procured the design plans of the subway from the Bridges Department on Tuesday, which will be used as reference to ensure they steer clear of the slabs which are part of the subway. "We need a space measuring 5 metres in length and 5 metres in breadth where the platform can be constructed. We are planning to have a couple of steps around the platform but the design can be finalised only after the excavation work is complete," said an official from the Heritage Department.

A man works on an aluminium cast for a part of the fountain
A man works on an aluminium cast for a part of the fountain

Based on the tentative plan, the excavation will be about 3 metres deep. The official added that they are digging pits that are 1-1.5 feet deep and once they figure out where the required space is available, they will alter the design of the platform accordingly.

Meanwhile, the work on restoring the cast iron fountain, which also functions as a gas lamp, is still underway at the Bhau Daji Lad museum. While assembling the structure, officials from the Heritage Department as well as architect Pankaj Joshi had found several elements of the fountain missing including a six-feet lamp that would be placed at the top.

A missing detail on the fountain
A missing detail on the fountain

With the help of design drawings that were shared by UK-based industrial archaeologist Peter Perkins, and old pictures, the team was able to manufacture the missing pieces. Some of the missing pieces have already been manufactured in cast iron and are ready to be fitted while the larger pieces are still under process.

Iron leaves that will be added
Iron leaves that will be added

Making the lamp

Since the lamp was completely missing, a mould was first made out of wood and now a model is being prepared in aluminium. Deepak Paunikar, the sculptor assigned for the project said, "We are making a replica of the wooden model of the lamp in aluminium. We will use it to make the lamp in bronze as was used in the original model." Civic officials from the Heritage Department said that they have been testing various kinds of lights to figure out which would be a good fit.

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