Royal Alfred Sailors’ Home


Image: Midday

South Mumbai is well known for its buildings that are of architectural and historical significance. The Gothic design of architect FW Stevens is prominently visible in many of the buildings here.

Here is an interesting excerpt from the Midday about The Royal Alfred Sailors’ Home, Steven’s First important commission in the city which is now the Maharashtra State Police Headquarters.

The Royal Alfred Sailors’ Home was named to commemorate the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh to the city in 1870. The Maharaja of Baroda jointly laid the foundation stone along with the Duke. This Grade I heritage building was completed in 1876 and served as an important landmark at the Colaba junction facing the Wellington Fountain. The Royal Alfred Sailors’ Home could house over 70 seamen in its heyday.


Image: Midday

This building is made from Kurla stone and was created in neo-Gothic style, which emerged as Stevens’ stamp. The central gable bears a striking relief sculpture by Richard Lockwood Boulton. Look out for elements that depict Neptune, sea horses, nymphs and wave-like curves — a tribute to the building’s proximity to the Arabian Sea.

Stevens ensured that the arcades were designed to offer comfort, air circulation and protection to its occupants from heat and rain, and at the same time, offer views of the harbour. The spot then was a far cry from the crowded traffic junction it is today.

Location: Near Wellington Fountain, Colaba.

Take a look at this photograph of the Sailors’ Home taken by an unknown photographer in the 1870s from the British Library Online Gallery link:

More on FW Stevens from the Wikipedia

Frederick William Stevens (11 November 1847 – 3 March 1900) was an English architectural engineer who worked for the British colonial government in India.[1] Stevens’ most notable design was the railway station Victoria Terminus in Bombay (in 1996 renamed the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai).

Stevens also designed the Municipal Corporation Building, the Post-Office Mews at Apollo Bunder, the head offices of the BB&CI Railway at Churchgate, and the Oriental Life Assurance Offices at the Flora Fountain.


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