Mumbai: Horniman Circle fence to be dug out of ground
Cast iron fence that goes around the garden has sunk two feet into the ground and has even corroded in places
The iconic Horniman Circle garden in Fort which is a Grade I heritage structure, is one of the city's most popular landmarks and the 149-year-old cast iron fence that runs around it is in dire need of some attention. A preliminary survey of the fence indicated that over the years it has been embedded around 2 feet below the ground and as part of the restoration plan, it will be excavated and restored to its original height.
The responsibility of overseeing the restoration of the structure to its former glory has been assigned to conservation architect Pankaj Joshi. Joshi said that initial tests revealed that the part of the fence that is embedded in the ground has suffered corrosion. "The fence is a culturally significant element of the Horniman Circle and it will continue to corrode much faster if it continues to be embedded. We will excavate the entire fence and restore it to its original state," he said.
The work on the fence will be carried out in phases. Joshi added that the fence comprising 55 segments has been damaged in several places. "We have found around 400 elements missing in the fence, the dividing columns and the gate which has an elaborate design. We will use the lost-wax mold method to create the missing pieces," he said. The project will also include repairs of the fountain and trough as well as landscaping work in the garden.
"We have to use the same quality of cast iron to avoid galvanic corrosion. We tested some samples last month to figure out the composition of the fence but further testing and detailed analysis will have to be done in the coming months to ascertain the exact metal composition," Joshi said. The BMC will float the tender for the project which has an estimate of R3 crore and the contractor is expected to be appointed within the next couple of months.
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