St. Thomas Cathedral Mumbai, an impressive earliest colonial structure

St.Thomas Cathedral Mumbai,

St. Thomas Church prior to 1838

St. Thomas Cathedral, Mumbai, belonging  to  the Diocese of Mumbai of the Church of North India is named in honor of St. Thomas the Apostle, and is the first Anglican church in the western region. Now, a  famous cathedral it bears testimony to the growth and history of  Bombay town and of the East India company's operations in this area. Located in the historic place of Mumbai, Horniman Circle (formerly Elphinstone Circle), and  close to Flora Fountain and Bombay House, its foundation stone was  laid in 1676 only after a lapse of several decades; reason: unexpected demise of  Governor  Aungier in 1676 AD who mooted the idea of building the Cathedral of  St.Thomas in the fort area and established the church in two small rooms inside the Bombay Castle. Gov. Aungier, upon his arrival from Surat in 1661, was solely responsible for the growth of Bombay and to meet the demand from the growing European community, the Angelical church was established  The church  building was added  and opened on the Christmas day in 1718. Chaplain Richard Cobbe completed the construction work of the church between 1715 and 1718. Towards the end, the East India Company took responsibility and completed the construction work. In the early days, it served only the Europeans. 
In July 1837, the church was consecrated as a cathedral when the first Bishop of Bombay, Thomas Carr had just been appointed. The tower and the clock at the western end were added in 1838; it became a cathedral only in 1817. Then it was with in the walls of the fortified settlement. Gov. Gerald Angier of Bombay from 1672—1677,  fortified the Company's commercial establishment encomposing several civic amenities, including a church, a hospital, a court of justice, etc. on the English model. The name of the nearby Church gate railway station refers to this church. For security reasons to protect the settlement, the East India Company had one of the entrance gates built at St. Thomas Church. It was called Church gate and the whole area towards the West of the Church is  known as "Churchgate" even today. The  Church gate street leading to the Church was later renamed as Veer Nariman Road as many streets of Bombay, had been renamed after independence.

The 300 year old church, laid on a place once called Bombay Green, is  under the management of the Cathedral and John Conon School which came into being in 1860 to provide choristers to the church. Near the entrance porch, there is a highly embellished stone fountain, which was made by an eminent architect named Sir Gilbert Scott, who also designed the Mumbai University buildings. An interesting feature of this  old church built in neo classical Gothic style  is, its roof is built to resist cannon attack from the enemy. The other attraction is its amazing stained glass windows. The Church can accommodate 1200 worshipers at a time. It is a heritage site and recipient of UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award (2004).

St. Thomas Cathedral.

Tablet at the entrance Image: The Bombay ProjectCulture Trip

St.Thomas Cathedral Mumbai, Marble memorial stone.

 Inside the church there are marble stone  memorials for Sir. Lewis_Maitlan, Capt Nicholas_Hardinge, Thomas_Carr_(bishop of Bombay) and the officers and crew members of the  steam ship Cleopatra that sank off the coast of Malabar in 1847. The hip was transporting convicts from Bombay to Singapore. Unfortunately, there names are missing.