One of the most magnificent buildings in the Mumbai city of India, Town Hall initially served as the venue of the Literary Society of Mumbai, when it was shifted here in the year 1830. Soon afterwards, Library Society of Mumbai united with the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Today, Town Hall houses the Library of the Asiatic Society, along with a small museum. The library situated inside its premises serves as the storehouse of information and knowledge. The museum sited in the hall boasts of a collection of the statues of some 19th century governors of Bombay.
One can also find the sculptures of some British scholars and
administrators, along with two Indian philanthropists and an Indian
scholar, there. Colonel Thomas Cowper, of the Bombay Engineers, was the
designer of the Town Hall, which is 200 feet long and 100 feet deep. Its
entrance stands adorned with Ionic columns. The material for its
construction was brought from England and the total cost of building
came to somewhere about 500,000 pounds. Designed as per the
neo-classical style, the building of Town Hall leaves you mesmerized
with its impressive columns and Grecian porticos.
The idea of the Town Hall was presented in the year 1811, at the behest
of James McKintosh, the then Recorder of Bombay and resident of the
Literary Society of Bombay. The society raised 10,000 rupees, through a
lottery, to fund the construction of the hall, which was intended to
serve as the venue of library and a museum, along with a number of civic
offices. However, the funds did not prove enough and the society had to
approach the government for financing the rest of the cost. This whole
process took ten years and finally led to the construction of the Town
Hall that was completed in 1833.
Town Hall stands adorned with ancient wooden flooring and spiral
staircases. The colonnaded hall has a number of statues, depicting the
long-forgotten heroes of the city. The library situated inside the
museum has an assimilation of over 800,000 antique volumes. Of these,
the most prized possession is the first edition copy of Dante's
'Inferno'. Not to be missed is the amazing collection coins, which are
more than 1,000 in number. There is also a rare gold mohur, belonging to
the Mughal Emperor Akbar.