Christ Church, Byculla. Mumbai - brainchild of Governor Elphinstone - colonial period

1833. Christ Church, Byculla, Mumbai Zoom4india

1833. Christ Church, Byculla, Mumbai
Like many Indian cities and towns where the old monuments and heritage sites are in constant threat, all in the name of development of roads, bridges, etc to tackle the traffic, the announcement of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation to Christ Church, Byculla, Mumbai in November 2017, was a good news. India was one among the six countries to get the covetous award.
According to the UNESCO report, the church  underwent inappropriate repair works in the past that diminished its cultural value. This is quite true of many heritages sites in India that need right restoration and correct techniques.  It is to be borne in mind that mere patch-up work will not only spoil the heritage value but also makes the  structures fall into much despair. Major restoration work was completed in 2015. The elegant interiors adorned with gilded cast-iron columns, stained-glass windows, and the lath and plaster ceiling that made this church a class apart, were taken care of with care by the conservationists who carried out  the tough work in two phases.

1833. Christ Church, Byculla, Mumbai
Above image: Vasai-based Sequeira Brothers  took care of the gold gilding works on the capitals that hold the columns together, on the four  capitals on the altar side that  were treated with gold leaf work, etc ..............................
1833. Christ Church, Byculla, Mumbai

833. Christ Church, Byculla, Mumbai   Mid-Day

The 185 year-old Christ Church  was the oldest one in Byculla, Mumbai and was in bad shape long ago. Completed in 1833 this neo-classical church is on Clare Road. This church was built at the initiative of then Governor Monstuart Elphinstone (1819-27) who wanted to move out the fort to a better location  and preferred a Country Home in a serene ambiance. That time   Parel-Byculla were emerging  as new locations.  Gov. Elphinstone had a problem, to attend Sunday church services he had to go all the way to St 
Thomas Cathedral in the Fort area.   Once the Governor's mansion was in use, a ‘chapel of ease’ was a necessity. Soon foundation was laid for a new  church by Right Hon'ble Earl of Clare, after whom the road was named; now it is called Mirza Ghalib Road.  The erstwhile governor of Mumbai after whom Elphinstone College is named  was  the educator-administrator-diplomat all rolled into one.
Mumbai Byculla
 Though the church was opened for worship on August 10, 1833, the church consecration got delayed until December 1835. The church has 12 fluted Corinthian  cast-iron columns, stained glass windows in the altar, fine sweeping wooden stairway to the first floor balcony, etc. From the balcony one can have a full view of this historic church during service. The church graveyard has many tombstones that glorify the administrators and wartime heroes.  one of the famous tombstones was that of Sir Robert Grant. The pipe organ here is not in use and needs repair work and it was supplied by Grey & Davidson, London  for £300. It was renovated by S. Rose & Co. in 1914.
In the centre of the nave  there are  three stained glass lights that were  from Spencer Compton, Prothonotary to the High Court of Bombay, as well as a church trustee. According to Vikas Dilawari, architect and conservationist. “Similar to Church of St Andrews (opposite Lion Gate), it was one of the last of the Neo-Classical churches built in pre-1860s Bombay, after which Gothic became the emergent style,”