Colaba Causeway - History

History

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Fort area and part of older town were overcrowded, as the island of Colaba, the southern tip of the city, had already been declared a cantonment area in 1796, barring all construction by the civilian population. Soon the boat traffic to area increased in the next few decades, and several people died due the capsizing of overcrowded boats, making the construction of the causeway imperative. What also added to the urgency to its construction was that, Mountstuart Elphinstone, Governor of Bombay (1819-1827), had already built the first home on Malabar Hill, following which the rich quickly started moving in to the centrally placed, Fort) area.

The Causeway as it is known to the locals, was constructed by the British East India Company, during the tenure of Sir Robert Grant (1779-1838) as the governor of Bombay (1835-1838), and its construction completed in 1838, which used the Old Woman's Island as a part of it; with this the last two islands of Colaba and Old Woman's Island (out of the Seven islands of Bombay), which were first taken in 1675, got connected with the mainland of Bombay. Until 1839, Colaba was accessible only during the low tide, though soon it saw rapid development in the area, especially after the construction the Cotton Exchange at Cotton Green in 1844. The Causeway was later further widened in 1861 and 1863.

Horse-drawn tram-cars were introduced here, in 1873 by Stearns and Kitteredge, for their offices on the west side of the Causeway, where the Electric House now stands.

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