After years of neglect, a century-old 20-foot-tall lamp post between Girgaum chowpatty and Marine Drive, erected to a commemorate the construction of Kennedy Sea-Face, will soon be restored to its former glory.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), under supervision of Tapan Mittal Deshpande, who is associated with Khaki Heritage Foundation, is planning to restore the iron lamp post. The civic body has also proposed to spruce up the footpath along the lamp post to facilitate cultural activities. It will also mark the area as installation-free.
Vishwas Mote, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of D-ward (Malabar Hill, Grant Road), said: “At present, the lamp post is semi-functional. We need to improve its maintenance. The place will be developed for promotion of music, art and culture following suggestions from the Mumbai Urban Art Commission.”
The Kennedy Sea-Face was named after Sir Micheal Kennedy, who then headed the city’s public works department (PWD), Bharat Gothoskar, founder of Khaki Heritage Foundation, said.
“The lamp was erected at the point from where construction of the retaining wall had started… The actual Queen’s Necklace or Marine Drive starts from that point — the lamp post to Nariman Point. The lamp post signifies the reclamation from the sea,” Gothoskar said. He said the reclamation took place in four phases. “The first phase of reclamation was from the lamp post to the Princess Street flyover. The gymkhanas, as seen today, were originally on a polo ground. They were cut up into smaller plots by Lord Harris, since he was a cricket fan. Harris popularised cricket by giving gymkhanas to different communities. The second phase of the reclamation was from Princess Street to Churchgate. The third phase was from Churchgate to Mantralaya and the fourth phase was from Mantralaya to Nariman Point,” Gothoskar said.
A stone inscription on the lamp post says the work for construction of the retaining wall had begun on December 18, 1915. It was completed in 1920. The area was previously also known as the back bay — a name attributed to it, as the port area was considered the entry point of the city.