Awe-inspiring design style of Crawford Market, Mumbai.

Crawford Market, Mumbai.

Crawford Market, Mumbai.

1905 Crawford Market, Mumbai.

Bombay (called Bom baim in Portuguese) was  the financial and commercial capital of India and one of the most populous cities in the world even during the colonial period.

Crawford Market,

King Charles II of England got the island of Bombay, once an archipelago of seven islands,  as a  part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal (Marriage Treaty  dated 23 June,1661). From King Charles the English East India Company got the island on lease from  27 March 1668 for a nominal £10 rent.  In the next 200 years East India company grew  by leaps and bounds, so was the Bombay city which became a hub of commerce and trade on the west coast. 

Crawford Market, situated opposite the Mumbai Police headquarters, just north of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station and west of the J.J. flyover at a busy intersection, is  a famous place for shopping in south Bombay (Mumbai). Named after  Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of the city, the building was completed in  1869  and  it was  donated to the city by Cowasji Jehangir, a rich Parsi merchant. 

Designed  with a blend of Victorian Gothic architecture and native design elements  by William Emerson  who designed the Victoria Memorial - a massive marble edifice in Kolkata and other buildings across India, the market is a spacious one  covering  an area of 22,471 sq m (2,41,877 sq ft); built-up area:  5,515 sq m (59,363 sq ft). To make it look unique and attractive, William chose the locally available stones - coarse buff colored Kurla stone, with redstone mined from Bassein island. A striking feature of this market is its tall 15 m  skylight and it is set in such a way the sunlight will keep the marketplace well-lit. The opening allows enough sun rays to pass through it. The clock-tower and gabled frontages, impart the look of  a traditional English country market buildings.  The wide wooden galleries was  recently restored filling in with concrete, a departure from the original construction technique.

As for the three entrance arches on  the left above, decorative  inscription in the tympanum (recessed triangular space at the center of the pediment) over the central one, and the semi-circular bas-reliefs at the top of the other two, they were designed by John Lockwood Kipling,then with the J.J.School of Art as the head.  A central hall is Moorishly arched (reminiscent of Islamic building) with two wings lined with rows of wooden stalls at a bit higher elevation. The structure has strangely designed  whimsical iron lamp-brackets in the shape of winged dragons.  Crawford Market Fountain was designed by William Emerson in 1874. In 1882, the building was the first in India to be lit up by electricity.

 John Lockwood Kipling (the father of author Rudyard Kipling who donated a small sum to the fund  being raised by a London newspaper to be given to Reginald Dyer, the butcher of Jallianwala Bagh in 1919)  was the  first architect of this market. He  came up with an original design consisting of three doorways at the entrance.but  was not able to complete the design work  before leaving India.

Until March 1996 when the wholesale traders were relocated to Navi Mumbai.Crawford market  served as the main wholesale market for fruits in Mumbai. Now it is renamed as  Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai,  a famous Indian social reformer.