Christ Church, Byculla. Mumbai -- private participation had saved the old church from damages

Christ Church Byculla, Mumbai
Above image; The foundation stone was laid by the Right Honorable Earl of Clare, after whom Clare Road (now Mirza Ghalib Road) was named. courtesy-

gilded capital. Christ Church Byculla, Mumbai

Above image; Christ church ,Mumbai. gold gilding works on the capitals and on the four capitals on the altar side were treated with gold leaf work and the rest were treated with pearl gold with shading done by traditional craftsmen from Vasai....................

12 fluted Corinthian columns Christ Church Byculla, Mumbai
Above image: Christ church, Byculla, Mumbai. Mezzanine floor with Corinthian columns originally intended for the Town hall's grand assembly room. Restoration of the  original lath ceiling plaster - 19th century  feature), was carefully done using matching materials, The ends of all the wooden trusses had decayed but were strengthened during restoration work --- Pics/Suresh;

The historical Christ Church in Byculla, Mumbai, affiliated to the Church of North India was built in 1833 as an Anglican church primarily to suit the convenience of the Governor of Bombay, Mountstuart Elphinstone. reason; being a busy senior most EIC  official  he had to earlier travel from his central Bombay residence in Parel to St Thomas Cathedral in South Bombay to meet his spiritual needs. Elphinstone had already left India in 1829, however the came up during the  during the governorship of John Fitz Gibbon, 2nd Earl of Clare, who laid the foundation stone in July, 1832.  One of the last 19th-century churches in the city along with the Church of St Andrew and St Columba in South Bombay, the architectural style adopted was that of  Neoclassical style, as Gothic Revival emerged as the preferred style thereafter. Architect was Augusto, native of Portugal. The first, service was held in t833, but consecration took place later in in December 1835 by Revd. Daniel Wilson, the then Bishop of Calcutta.

stained glass windows. Christ Church Byculla, Mumbai
Above image; Christ church. stained glass windows - gifted by one of the trustees of the church Spencer Compton, also  Prothonotary to the High Court of Bombay,....................

Wilting under age and vagaries of climatic conditions, the church started showing signings  of aging and some damages. The more than 185 year-old Christ Church  in Byculla, Mumbai  was in bad state long ago and the historians and heritage lovers tried hard to get the attention of the church authorities to get the church restore back to old glory in an appropriate manner without compromising on its heritage elements. .

UNESCO  categorically pointed out  that  the church  underwent inappropriate repair works in the past not in conjunction with appropriate  techniques of heritage conservation work that must retain the  heritage and cultural values. such haphazard patch-up work in the name of conservation would make the structures fall into more despair. Planned restoration work revealed  hitherto hidden amazing  elegant interiors adorned with

sweeping stairway Christ Church Byculla, Mumbai
Above image; Christ church, Mumbai. The  sweeping wooden staircase leading up to the balcony was in good shape because of quality wood. one can view the congregation from  this mezzanine space,  (Information courtesy: Vikas Dilawari, Christopher Gomes and Dr Christopher London).............

gilded columns, stained-glass windows, and the lath and plaster ceiling.  Vasai-based Siqueira Brothers were in charge of gold-gelding.  A marvelous church with  12 fluted Corinthian  cast-iron columns, stained glass windows in the altar and tall ceiling to reduce heat, fine sweeping wooden stairway to the first floor balcony, etc., it is a haven for budding architects.  The stunning balcony offers a full view of the church during service.  The church graveyard carries many tombstones that glorify the administrators and wartime heroes in the early colonial period under the EIC; one of the famous tombstones was that of Sir Robert Grant. The old pipe organ imported from  Grey & Davidson, London  for £300 was restored in 1914  by S. Rose & Co, not in use for a long period  of time it needs restoration. spares are difficult to procure because of time-lapse. 

The man who deserves credit and appreciation is Vikas Dilawar who also took upon himself to restore the famous Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Fountain and Clock Tower. The  three stained glass lights in the center of the nave  were  from Spencer Compton, Prothonotary to the High Court of Bombay, as well as a church trustee. Vikas Dilawari, conservation  architect mentions, “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,”

 In 2017, the church's restoration project led by conservation architect Vikas Dilawari won the Award of Merit under the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. it was a singular endeavor with a combination of correct planning and right traditional methods matching those of the past era..