Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com captures glimpses from one of Mumbai's famous heritage buildings, the newly renovated David Sassoon Library and Reading Room.
The David Sassoon Library and Reading Room was built in 1867. It is one of the oldest educational institutions in the Victorian Gothic and art deco ensembles of the Mumbai UNESCO World Heritage site.
The restoration project was conceptualised and implemented by Sangita Jindal, chairperson, JSW Foundation, the social development arm of her husband Sajjan Jindal's JSW Group, in collaboration with Conservation Architect Abha Narain Lambah.
The JSW Foundation, the ICICI Foundation along with Hermès, the Kala Ghoda Association, the consulate general of Israel in Mumbai (David Sassoon was Jewish), the M K Tata Trusts and others raised the Rs 40 million (Rs 4 crores) for the restoration project.
Restoration work commenced in February 2022 and was completed in 16 months.
IMAGE: The exterior of the David Sassoon Library and Reading Room. All photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
IMAGE: The foyer on the ground floor features photographs of Bombay during the 1800s and 1900s.
The library has a significant amount of its original Minton tile flooring starting from the foyer extending to the first floor covering the reading room and verandah.
The various patterns of the Minton flooring in each room have been carefully restored.
IMAGE: The library originally used gas lighting in the building before electricity was introduced in Bombay.
A lamp on the main staircase from the pre-electricity era has been recreated and installed in its original place.
IMAGE: The gas pipe used for lighting during the pre electricity era.
IMAGE: The interiors and lighting in the library have been redone to be conducive for long hours of reading.
IMAGE: During the library's renovation in 1997, its original sloping roof was replaced with a reinforced cement concrete slab.
The concrete slab had, over time, developed water leakage in the building.
During the restoration effort, this concrete slab was strategically demolished and a new MS framed portal roof was erected with multiple layers of waterproofing and protection.
IMAGE: The library has 30,000 books in different languages.
IMAGE: The teakwood reading tables have also been restored. Electrical sockets have been designed quite impressively.
IMAGE: The staircase leading to the clock tower.
IMAGE: The verandah where visitors can savour unique views of the city.
IMAGE: Israel Consul General Kobbi Shoshani, Abha Narain Lambah, the well known conservation architect, JSW Foundation Chairperson Sangita Jindal and Solomon F Sopher, president of Mumbai's Baghdadi Jewish community pose for photographers. David Sassoon was a Jew from Baghdad.
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com