Samuel Townsend Sheppard.

Bombay place-names and street-names; an excursion into the by-ways of the history of Bombay City online

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at the south end of the Road.

Pilot Bunder Road. {Touching Colaba Road near St. John
the Evangelist Church.)

Named after the Bunder of the same name. A life boat was
once kept here. (Bombay City Gazetteer, I., 55.)



BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES. 121

»

PiMPALWADi Cross Lane. {A blind lane from Mughhat.)

This^ is called Pimpalwadi on account of the many pipal
(Ficus Eeligiosa, or the Peepul) trees that existed there. There
are still one or two large peepul trees in this oart.
»
PiNJARi Street. (From Abdul Rehman Street to Sarang Street.)

Pinjaris, cotton cleaners, live in the locality. The pin/jar
is the harp shaped bow carrying the string by the vibration
of which the cotton is cleaned or scutched. {Vide Tribes and
Castes of the C. P., Vol. II., p. 72.)

PiRU Lane. (From Parel Road to Imamwada.)
Named after a Havaldar of a Governor whose name was Piru.

PiTHA Street. (From Gunbow Street to Ghoga Street.)

Named after an old pitha or liquor shop that exists here. It
belonged to Baja Lalchu, a well known Parsi.

Platform Road. (On both sides of Tardeo siding.)
A matter-of-fact railway name.

Police Court Lane. (From Bora Bazar Street to Raghunath
Dadaji Street.)

The old Fort Police Court building was at the corner of
Hornby Road and Raghunath Dadaji Street, at the west end
of this lane. This old Police Court Building was the property
of the first Sir Jamsetji (1783-1859) who gave it to his third
*son Sorabji (1825-1883) and from him it passed to the
Sassoons.

Poona Street. (From Clive Road to Frere Road.)
•Named after the town of Poona.

PoPATWADi, or 1st Kolbhat Lane. (A blind lane from Kal-
badevi Road.)

Formerly known as Moroba Popatji's wadi. Moroba Popatji
was a wealthy Pathare Kshatriya of Bombay.



122 BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES.

Portuguese Church Street. {Frotn Dadar ^nd Lady Jam-
setji Road junction to Old Purbhadevi Road.)

The Eev. Father Hull writes : — ■'' This street is so calleS be-
cause of Salva9ao Church which still exists along it, opposite
the big tank which is called the Church tank. Salvagao church ,
(Nossa Senhora do Salva9ao) was built by the Portuguese
Franciscans some time before 1600 (said to be 1596). It has
been rebuilt several times, and retains nothing of its original
form and appearance. It was successively in the hands of the
Franciscans and the Carmelites, and passed backwards and
forwards between the two jurisdictions ; but since 1853 has been
in possession of the Padroado clergy.

" St. Michael's, Mahim, near the bridge to Bandra, has a
similar history ; it is said to have been founded in 1534. The
chapel of St. Teresa, Girgaum, often called the Portuguese
chapel, was originally built in 1773 ; always under Propaganda
Jurisdiction.

" The native Christians (and their churches) owe their name
Portuguese to their having originally been converted by the
Portuguese before the English acquisition. The name stuck
to them till very recent times. Properly only those Christians
should be called Portuguese who come from Goa (the Goans).
The Padroado churches can be called Portuguese in the sense
that they are under a Portuguese Bishop and manned by Goan
clergy."

On the subject of Portuguese relics in Bombay, which one
might expect to be commemorated in place names. Father
Hull writes : — "It is claimed that some old walls in the castle
represent the remnants of the Portuguese Governor's house ;
but this is not at all certain, in fact quite improbable. The «
Portuguese (1534-1661) did not take Bombay island very
seriously. They merely divided the land among some of the
better families ; and there were never more than 14 such
families in the island. They built nothing known to us except
just the Governor's house above alluded to, which was probably*
a poor affair. They made no forts either. Whether those
little round towers on hills were built by them I cannot say,
but probably not. The churches of Esperanga, ' Gloria,
Salvaoao and St. Michael's and the shell of the church at Parel
(now embodied in the laboratory) are the only known Portuguese
buildings ; and of these no distinguishing original feature



BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES. 123

*

survives, as they were mucli rebuilt. Alleged Portuguese
houses; etc., are mythological. With churches should le
included crosses of the Portuguese type ; but it is not certain
which of them were made in Portuguese times and which later.

Prescott Road. (From Napier Road to Outram Road.)

Named after Miss Prescott. " The Frere -Fletcher school was
formerly known as Miss Prescott's Fort Christian school. This
building, like the University Hall and Library, dates its origin
from the share mania times. Its existence is the result of the
unselfish labours of Miss Prescott, a lady who for some years
devoted her life and her means to the education of a few
children irrespective of caste or creed. Some friends on her
behalf appealed to Sir Bartle Frere, who made a grant of the
land, on which the building stands, free of cost. Mr. Prem-
chund Roychund likewise assisted by a gift of money, but the
greater part of the expense has been borne by Miss Prescott,
who collected the necessary funds from friends and others
interested in a good cause. The foundations were laid in 1871."
(Maclean's Guide to Bombay^ p. 231.)

Prince's Dock.

The foundation stone of this dock was laid by the Prince
of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII) in 1875.

Princess Street. {From Sheik Memon Street to Queen's Road.)

The first important street scheme undertaken by the Bombay
Improvement Trust. Acquisition of property commenced Sep-
tember 1901 ; street opened and named by T.R.H. The Prince
*and Princess of Wales, November 10th, 1905. (Details of the
scheme were prepared, in pamphlet form, by the Trust for the
opening ceremony.)

Procter Road. (From Grant Road Bridge to Girgaum Back
Road.)

Named after Sir H. E. Procter, of the firm of Killick Nixon
& Co. He was born in 1866 and first came to Bombay in
1888 in Messrs. Killick Nixon & Co. He was Chairman of
the Bombay Chamber of Commerce for several years and repre-
sented it in the Bombay Legislative Council. Along this road



1-24 BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES.

are congregated several missionary institutions in which Sir
Henry takes great interest. The name of the road is therefore
appropriate. *

The road was formerly called Dhanji Street from a Parsi
Dhanjibhai Framji but it was altered to the present name by
the Municipality.

Queen's Eoad. {From Churchgate Street to New Queen's Road.)
Named after Queen Victoria.

Queen's Koad Bandstand. (From Churchgate Street to Wode-
house bridge, East approach.)

The bandstand is situated at the junction of this road with
Mayo road. Fornaerly known as Queen's Parade, and then as
Queen's road.

Fashion has somewhat deserted the Bandstand since the
mid-nineteenth century when Buist wrote : " The Bandstand
on the Esplanade is the principal place of resort on week-days ;
on Sundays the Breach is the place of rendezvous."

Kaghoonath Dadaji Street. (From Hornby Road to Gunbow
Street.)

Named after Raghunath Dadaji, a rich Hindu merchant,
whose family had a well-known house there. His more famous
brother was Dhakji Dadaji (1760-1846) who built, in 1831,
Mahaluxmi temple with its imposing pagoda.

" The one vestige of a Prabhu settlement in the Fort is
Raghunath Dadaji Street." (K. N. Kabraji quoted in Bombay
City Gazetteer, I., 242.)

Raichoe Street. (From Clive Road to Frere Road.)
Named after Raichur in the Madras Presidency.

Rampart Row. (From Esplanade Road to Apollo Street.)

Rampart Row West was formerly called Rope Walk Street,
" so called from the Rope Walk here kept for many years by
the Company for the manufacture of coir ropes." (Maclean's
Guide to Bombay.) " Here is also a rope walk, which for
length, situation, and convenience, equals any in England,



BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES. 125

that iia tlie king's yard at Portsmoutli only excepted ; and like
that, it has a covering to protect the workmen ; cables, and all
sorts of lesser cordage, both of hemp and coir, are manufactured
here/^ (Milburn's " Oriental Commerce" — published 1825 — •
page 123.)

^ Michael (History of the Municipal Corporation, p. 408) writes
that "Rampart Road East, or the Eastern Boulevard," was
opened in 1868. Rampart Road East was subsequently renamed
as part of Esplanade Road.

Rauli Hill.

Ravelin Street. (From Hornby Road to Waudhy Road.)

Named after a ravelin of the old fort. (Ravelin — ^an outwork
of two faces forming a salient angle outside the main ditch
before the curtain.) The various ravelins must have often
been used as land marks. An advertisement in the Bombay
Courier of 1828 mentions a house near the " South west ravelin
near the Apollo Gate."

Reay Road. (From DeLima Street to Kalachauki Road.)

Named after Lord Reay (born 1830), Governor of Bombay
from 1885-1890. The road w^as handed over to the Municipality
by the Port Trust, 1894-5.

Rebsch Street. (From Club Back Road to Gell Street.)

After Mr. S. Rebsch (born 1853),Chairman of the Improvement
Trust (1900-1906). He was in the Public Works Department
5rom 1875 to 1906.

Reynolds Road. (From Club Back Road to Morland Road.)

Named after the first Engineer of the City Improvement Trust,
Ms. Playford Re5niolds (born 1843), of the Public Works Depart-
ment.



Ridge Road. (From Gibbs Road to Walkeshwar Road.)
It is on the Ridge of Malabar Hill.



126 BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES.

KiPON Road. {From Bellasis Road to Jacob's Circle.)

Named after the Marquis of Ripon, Governor-General of
Indii from 1880-1884. This road was built in 1885.



Roberts Road.

This road runs from Colaba Road at the southern end of the
Parade ground towards Back Bay, and then extends up to the
gate of the old Lunatic Asylum. Although properly named
Beach Road, it was generally called Asylum Road and, as
there was no reason for maintaining the memory of the Lunatic
Asylum (now moved to Poona), the Military Authorities desired
that the road should be named Roberts Road, after the late
Field Marshal Lord Roberts. This change was made in 1915.

Rope WALK Street. {From Military Square Lane to Rampart
Row.)

{Vide Rampart Row.)

Rose Cottage Lane. {From Mount Road to Matarpakhadi.)
From a bungalow of this name.

Rotten Row Ride.

This name, borrowed from London, was applied to the ride
round what is now called the Oval, but it is now seldom used.
' ' Numerous gardens or planted enclosures have been laid out at
suitable spots, such as the Rotten Row Ride, by the late Mr.
Bellasis." (Maclean's Guide to Bombay, p. 210.)

In a letter to The Times of India (5th December, 1914) on' a
new ride laid out inside the Race Course, an anonymous writer
says : — " It is hardly too much to prophesy that the Rotten
Row of Bombay in the future will not be the Kennedy Sea Face
but the Club (Western India Turf Club) track at Mahaluxmi."

Russell Street. {From Clive Road to 1st Clive Cross Lane.)

RuTHERFiELD Street. {From Military Square Lane to Forbes
Street.)



bombay place-names. 127

Eyan Grain Market.

Named after Mr. Jolin Ryan, the first Traffic Manager of the
Bombay Port Trust.

Sadashiv Street. i^From Girgaum Bach Road to Kandewadi
Lane.)

Named after an owner of property there named Sadashiv, a
Hindu of the Pathare Prabhu caste.

The old name of this street, still current among the inhabit-
ants, is Raishum Gully — raishum silk, gully lane — because silk
weavers lived there and some of them are still to be found there.

S AF ARAB ADi Street. (West of Morland Road.)

So named because the inhabitants were mostly engaged on
ships. Safar means a voyage. The Street is called Mahomedan
Street by the Municipality.

Samuel Road. {From Sandhurst Road to Bhandari Street.)

Samuel Street was formerly known as Shamji (or Samaji)
Hassaji Street. It was named after Shamji Husaji who was a
commandant in the native army of the Bombay Government
in 1790. In commemoration of his escape from the hands of
Hyder Ali of Mysore, he built the synagogue known as the Gate
of Mercy. Many other houses in the locality were owned by
and occupied by Bene Israels. The street is named after
him (Shamji) because Shamji is synonymous with Samuel.
Essajee Hasaji, the brother of Shamji, was an officer in the native
army at the same time as his brother. The street now called
Bardan . Street was formerly known as Essajee Hasaji Street.
{See Bombay City Gazetteer, Vol. I., p. 249.)

Sandhurst Road. {Fronfi Frere Road to Girgaum Road.)

Named after Lord Sandhurst, Governor of Bombay (1895-
1900). It was in his governorship that the Act was passed which
constituted the City Improvement Trust which built this road.
The road was handed over to the Municipality in 1910.

Sankli Street. {From Morland Road to Clare Road.)

Named after a tank of this name that formerly existed here.
It was called Sanklia, or Sakaria, because its water was con-



128 BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES.

sidered to be as sweet as " sakar " (sugarcandy). Another,
and equally plausible explanation is tliat the tank got its name
from being surrounded by sankel, or iron chain railings, instead
of a stone parapet. The tank was filled up in 1893, a*id the
site of it is now occupied by a fire-brigade station and Municipal
ward offices.

Sabang Street. (From Carnac Road to Bhajipala Street.)

Formerly known as Baloo Sarang Street. Sarang means
' boatswain ': the word is Persian — sarhang — and originally
meant a commander or overseer. In modern Persian it seems
to be used for a colonel. (Hobson-Jobson.)

Sassoon Dock.

" The Sassoon Dock at Colaba is situated close to the pre-
sent Cotton Green and was opened in 1875 by Messrs. D. Sas-
soon & Co. In 1879 it was purchased by Government on behalf
of the Port Trustees." (Bombay City Gazetteer, Vol.
III., p. 264.)

Say AD MuKRi Street. (From Bhandari Street to Dongri
Street,)

Believed to be named after Mahomed Sayad Mukri. In
Arabic mukri means one who reads certain passages from the
Koran in the course of a sermon.

Scandal Point. (Breach Candy.)

The name is to be found in the Monthly Miscellany of Western
India (1850) if not earlier. The explanation is obvious, for
the popularity of drives to this point has not diminished.
" There are two drives especial favourites with the ' Bombay
fashionable world : one to the Esplanade, the other to the
* Breach ' on the western side of the island." (Lady Falkland
" Chow-Chow," Vol. I, p. 97.)

" On Sundays the Breach is the place of rendezvous, though
the churches commonly draw the bulk of the fashionables
away." (Buist's Guide, p. 274 b.)

Scottish Orphanage Gully. (From Lady Jamsetji Road to
Mahim Bazar Road.)

Named after the well known school in Mahim.



BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES. 129

Setalv/ad Road. {From Nepean Sea Road seawards.)
»)
Named after C. H. Setalwad, a member of the Bombay Cor-
poration, who has his bungalow there.

*

Sewri Road. {From Kalachowki Road to Sewri Koliwada and
cross road junction.)

" Sivri, or Sewri, which Fryer referred t(5 as Suri, is held to
derive its name from Sivadi or Sivavadi (the place or garden
of Siva) or possibly from Shivarvadi." (Bombay City Gazetteer,
Vol. I., p. 30). As a place name Sewri is most commonly
applied to the Christian cemetery, but it occurs also in three
or four street nanies.

Shaik Bud an Comodin Street. {From Grant Road to Bel-
lasis Road.)

The municipal spelling of the name is peculiar, but the street
appears to derive its name from a prominent resident of former
days, Shaikh Buran Kammudin, a Konkani Mahomedan. It
is now known among the residents as Teli Moholla or Teli Street.
Teli — oilmen, of whom some live in this street.

Shamsett Street. {Frmn Abdul Rehman Street to Sheik Met^on
Street.)

Named after Balaji Shamsett, a wealthy Hindu of the Sonar
or goldsmith caste, related to the famous Jagonnath Sunker-
sett (1802-1865). He had several houses in the Street which
was formerly inhabited exclusively by Hindu tailors, which
was called from this circumstance Chhipichali, i.e., lane of tailors.

Sheik Memon Street. {From Carnac Road, Crawford Market
* to Kalbadevi Road.)

This is named after a Deccani Mahomedan Pir, or holy man,
called Shaikh Momin, corrupted into Memon, who flourished
150 years ago. The Saint's tomb or durga is in this street near
it.'i junction with Princess Street and is frequented by many
Mahomedans who make offerings there. An Annual religious
fair is also held on the anniversary of the Saint's death.

A law suit — " Mahomed Husan Aswari and others versus
Gulam Mohidin Baig and others " — was reported in The Times
of India of December 1, 1914. The plaintiffs applied for the



130 BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES.

appointment of a receiver of the valuable properties attached
to the Dargah of Sheikh Momin, from whifth the well-known
Sheikh Memon Street takes its name. They contend that
the properties were charitable and must be declared lo have
been held by the defendants as matavalis or managers of the
Dargah, and the defendants should be made to account for the
rents of shops, over Rs. 250 a month ; for the Rs. 20,000 or so
they had received as compensation for set-back from the Muni-
cipality ; for offerings at the shrine or tomb of the Pir Sheikh
Momin ; and for other receipts. The charity was founded about
one and -a -half centuries ago. Counsel for the defendants denied
that the properties mentioned were either public or charitable ;
contrariwise, they were proprietary and ancestral, for which
the defendants paid income-tax and municipal and other dues.
The defendants were the descendants of the relatives of the
Sheikh Momin; there was at the same place the tomb of Kahi-
muddin Shah also, an ancestor of theirs. The tombs of the
two Pirs or saints were situated in the family -house of the
defendants which had recently been rebuilt. The notice of
motion was dismissed.

Sections of the street are known to natives as Kapad-bazaar
or cloth market ; Chandi or Shroff bazaar, silver market ; Moti
or Javeri bazaar, pearl market; cloth, silver and pearl-merchants
having their establishments in this locality.

Shekadi Lane. {A blind lane from Vithalwadi)

Named after a Hindu of the Parbhu caste called Shekadi.
There was a well in the middle of the lane now filled up which
was called Shekadi 's well.

Shepherd Road. (From Par el Road to Clare Road.)

Named after the Alms House of that name situated in this
road.

" St. Peter's, Mazagon, was opened for Divine Service in 1859.
It was built chiefly from funds bequeathed by an aged Eurojfean
resident of the district, named Shepherd, about whose life those
who knew him best observed an air of mystery. The outside
world only heard of his existence. On his death' the public
learnt that he had left funds for the erection of a church at
Mazagon, and of a refuge for widows, orphans, and blind per-



BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES. 131

sons. .The latter, known as 'Shepherd's Aims-House,' has
been built at Bj-culla in convenient proximity to the BycuUa
Church." (Maclean's Guide to Bombay, p. 298.)

A inanuscript note on the Shepherd's Trust file states that
Shepherd joined the East India Company's Marine in 1787,
^retired in 1834 on a pension of Es. 87-8, and died ten years
later. He left Rs. 9,794 to build alms-houses.

Sholapur Street. (From Clive Road to Frere Road,)
Named after the City of Sholapur in the Deccan.

Shroff Street. (From Pestonji Street to Bora and Hamal
Streets.)

Possibly named after the Pestonji Edulji Shroff who also
gave his name to Pestonji Street {q. v.). It was in this quarter
of the town, and especially in Bazaar Gate Street, that the
Hindu Shroffs first established themselves. " Shroff — A money
changer, a banker. Ar. sarraf, sairafi, sairajP (Hobson-Jobson.)

SiNDHi Lane. {From Falkland Road to Khetwadi Main
Road.)

People from Sind (Sindhis) live in this lane.

SlON.

'' Sion, which was called Siam by Fryer and Svya by Simao
Botelho (1554) is a Portuguese corruption of the Marathi Simwa,
a boundary or limit, Sion village being the boundary between
the island of Bombay and Salsette." (Bombay City Gazetteer,
Vol. I., p. 29.)

Da Cunha's note on this word (The Origin of Bombay, p. 59)
is rather confused. He writes : " The village of Sion, which
the early Portuguese more approximately to its origin wrote
Siva, has some temples of its own. . . .The name Sion is derived
fnom the Marathi Simva, a boundary or a limit, the village of
Sion being the boundary between the island of Bombay and
Salsette." This supposed connection with Siva may be traced
farther bafek, for Moor in " Oriental Fragments " published in
1834 (p. 436) gives the following derivation: " Siva is, in the
southern, western, and, perhaps, other parts of India, corruptly



132 BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES.

pronounced Sheo, and otherways Seo, Seu and Siv. A conical
hill, among the highest, on Bombay, and thfe most northern
is (almost of course) named after this elevated family. Natives

generally call it Seo or Sheo It used to command the pfeage

between Bombay and Salsette, and served as a check on the
Mahrattas of the latter island. We always write it Sion, and
pronounce it as we do the name of our ' holy hill.' It was'
probably so called by our predecessors."

Sion Causeway was formerly known as Sion Vellard (cf.
Hornby Vellard).

Maria Graham (1812) writes (p. 8): " At the foot of the hill of
Sion is a causeway, or vellard which was built by Mr. Duncan,
the present Governor, across a small arm of the sea, which separ-
ates Bombay and Salsette. It is well constructed of stone,
and has a draw-bridge in the middle, but it is too narrow for
carriages to go along with safety in bad weather ; however, it is
of great advantage to the farmers and gardeners who bring in the
daily supplies of provisions to the Bombay market. The vellard
was begun in A. D. 1797, and finished in 1805, at the expense
of 50,575 rupees, as I learnt from an inscription over a small
house at the end next Bombay, where a guard is kept to prevent
the introduction of contraband articles from Salsette, which
though under the English government, is still subject to the
Mahratta regulations with regard to taxes."

Smi Road. (From Walkeshwar Road to Ridge Road.)

" This road is called Siri from the Marathi word sidi, a ladder
or a staircase, from its steep or slanting position on the way
from Chaupati to Malabar Hill." (da Cunha, p. 56.)

Sleater Road. ( From Falkland Road to Grant Road. From *'
Tardeo Road to the Low Level Road south of Falkland Bridge.)

The road was made on land of which part belonged to the
B. B. & C. I. Railway. It is named after J. M. Sleater for many
years Resident Engineer of the B. B. &. C. I. Railway an^l
Chief Engineer, 1882—1892.

SoNAPUR Street. (From Girgaum Road to Chandanwctdi Lane.)

Named according to one explanation after the Hindu Burial
Ground close by ; and called Sonapur from the vernacular



BOMBAY PLACE-NAMES. 133

meaning sleepijig place, or quarter of the town. Sona
sleep.

RcK) Bahadur P. B. Joshi writes : — " I don't think this is
correct. Sone in Marathi means gold and 'pur a city. Hindus
call a cemetery a Smashan,or Shamshanpur,and this Smashanpur
was probably changed into Suvashpur or Sonapur, that is, the
city of gold. When an aged person dies it is a common practice
to say tyachen sonejhalen, i.e., he is turned into gold. Another
explanation for the origin of the name is that this, or an adjoin-
ing wadi or oart, was known by the name of Sonawadi and so
the new burning ground was named after the wadi."

SoEABJi SuNTOOK Lane. (From Lohar Street to Wellington
Street.)

(See Dady Santook Lane.)

SouTER Street. ( From Gilder Street to Norland Road.)

Named after a former PoHce Commissioner, Sir Frank Henry
Souter, Kt.C.S.I. (1832—88). He was the son of Captain Souter,
who was a prisoner in Afghanistan in 1842 in the hands of the
notorious Akbar Khan. He took part in suppressing dacoity in
Southern Deccan consequent on the Mutiny of 1857. Com-
missioner of Police, Bombay, in succession to For jett, from 1864
till his death in 1888. He was knighted by King Edward when
he visited Bombay in 1875, as Prince of Wales. He took a
prominent part in Municipal affairs and was twice (1882 and
1883) President of the Municipal Corporation, as well as of
the Town Council.

St. George's Road. (From the south-east gate of the Victoria
Terminus to Frere Road.)

Named after the European General Hospital of the same name.

Stable Street. (From Bapty Road to IMi Kamatipura Street.)

• Named after the Municipal Health Department stables
situated there.


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