One of the most magnificent buildings in the Mumbai city of India, Town Hall initially served as the venue of the Literary Society of Mumbai, when it was shifted here in the year 1830. Soon afterwards, Library Society of Mumbai united with the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Today, Town Hall houses the Library of the Asiatic Society, along with a small museum. The library situated inside its premises serves as the storehouse of information and knowledge. The museum sited in the hall boasts of a collection of the statues of some 19th century governors of Bombay.
One can also find the sculptures of some British scholars and administrators, along with two Indian philanthropists and an Indian scholar, there. Colonel Thomas Cowper, of the Bombay Engineers, was the designer of the Town Hall, which is 200 feet long and 100 feet deep. Its entrance stands adorned with Ionic columns. The material for its construction was brought from England and the total cost of building came to somewhere about 500,000 pounds. Designed as per the neo-classical style, the building of Town Hall leaves you mesmerized with its impressive columns and Grecian porticos.
The idea of the Town Hall was presented in the year 1811, at the behest of James McKintosh, the then Recorder of Bombay and resident of the Literary Society of Bombay. The society raised 10,000 rupees, through a lottery, to fund the construction of the hall, which was intended to serve as the venue of library and a museum, along with a number of civic offices. However, the funds did not prove enough and the society had to approach the government for financing the rest of the cost. This whole process took ten years and finally led to the construction of the Town Hall that was completed in 1833.
Town Hall stands adorned with ancient wooden flooring and spiral staircases. The colonnaded hall has a number of statues, depicting the long-forgotten heroes of the city. The library situated inside the museum has an assimilation of over 800,000 antique volumes. Of these, the most prized possession is the first edition copy of Dante’s ‘Inferno’. Not to be missed is the amazing collection coins, which are more than 1,000 in number. There is also a rare gold mohur, belonging to the Mughal Emperor Akbar.