David Sassoon Library, Rampart Row, Mumbai, designed by Col. J. A. Fuller, Royal Engineers, for the firm of Scott, McClelland & Co. "Precisely what relationship existed between the military authorities and the civil firm is unclear," writes Philip Davies (167), while the name of John Campbell (of that firm) also appears in Christopher London's account, in connection with the original proposals (58). At any rate the building was completed in 1870, with funds partly bequeathed by David Sassoon himself, and partly provided by the government, and, like similar institutes in Britain, opened "for the edification of the modest man" (Tindall 13).

The building is a picturesque Venetian-style Gothic Revival structure in yellow stone with polychromatic dressings. It has a high, pointed and crocketed gable, stone corner pinnacles both on the gable and at each angle of the roof, ironwork balustrades on a dentilled ledge, and a first-storey verandah which is suitable for the climate, as well as being decorative. The gable at the top has a clock, while in the gable over the entrance porch is John Lockwood Kipling's bust of Sassoon, the generous private benefactor. As Davies says, it is "a delightful little building of immense charm and character" (167). Inside the foyer is a full-length life-size statue of Sassoon by Thomas Woolner.

Photograph by Tim Willasey-Wilsey and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print document. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Related Material


Davies, Philip. Spledours of the Raj: British Architecture in India, 1660-1947:. London: Penguin, 1987.

London, Christopher W. Bombay Gothic. Mumbai: India Book House, 2002.

Tindall, Gillian. City of Gold: The City of Bombay. New Delhi: Penguin, 1992.

Created 13 January 2017