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Old Pictures



(last photo is contributed by Noor Raoof d/o Nasir Raoof)

    The Merewether Memorial Tower was built to commemorate the services of General Sir William L. Merewether who served as Commissioner-in-Sinde from 1868 to 1877. Initially, there was a pier on the Karachi Port named after him, which was constructed by the Karachi Harbour Board in 1882 at a cost of Rs. 300,000, however it was later decided that a more worthy and visible memorial was in order which was to be built by public subscription.

    The foundation stone of the Tower was laid by Bombay's governor, James Ferguson, in 1884 at the confluence of Mc Leod and Bundar Roads. Due to a shortage of funds, it took eight years to complete and was handed over to the Municipality in 1892 by the then Commissioner-in-Sinde Evan James. The total cost of construction (including the cost of the clock) came to Rs. 37,178.

    The Merewether Memorial Tower was designed by city engineer and architect, James Strachan, as a form of an Eleanor Cross in the English medieval Gothic style. The Tower employed elegantly carved detailing executed by local craftsmen who had demonstrated their skill at the under construction Victoria Terminus of Bombay. The design shows a heightened sensitivity to detailing and decorative carving that is greater than any of the other buildings by James Strachan. The Tower sits on a platform 44 square feet and rises to a height of 102 feet. The prominently displayed clock was placed at the bottom of the spire, 70 feet above the ground. Each of the four clock faces is seven feet in diameter, and used to be visible from great distances in the early city, reminding the Karachiites of the value of time. The large bell installed in the tower weighed about 152 kilograms (three hundredweights), and struck every hour. The smaller bells weighed about 51 kilograms (one hundredweight) each, and marked the quarters of every hour.

    Shortly after the construction of the Merewether Memorial Tower, an impressive building was built by H. J. Rustomji & Co. between Mc Leod and Bundar roads which provided a grand backdrop for the Tower, however somewhat diminished its importance and obscured the view of the clock from the East. This building no longer remains.



Old Pictures




    The foundation stone of the Sindh Arts College was laid in 1887 by Viceroy Dufferin. Due to a shortage of funds, the construction of this elegantly grand edifice took six years and the college was completed in 1893 at a cost of Rs. 186,514. The government provided a grant of Rs. 97,193 whereas the remaining expenditures were shared by the Municipality, local boards, and private individuals of all classes who donated liberally. The site for the college was allocated by the Municipality free of charge, and the college was named after Dayaram Jethmal, whose family members contributed Rs. 25,000 towards the cost of construction. The college was formally inaugurated on October 15th, 1893 by Commissioner-in-Sind, Evan James.

    The D. J. Sind College is considered city architect and engineer, James Strachan's greatest architectural triumph. In designing this college, Strachan deviated from his usual Indo-Gothic style, and designed a building in the classical Italianate tradition. The building uses magnificent domes, elaborate carvings and arcaded facades to create an imposing edifice. Strachan had by now fully realized the capabilities of local craftsmen, and this was used to full effect in this building where a lot of elegantly carved features were incorporated into the building design. The main facade of the building is 431 ft long, facing the Kutchery Road (old name). It consists of a plinth 5 ft high with an open arcade of dressed stone running along the entire length of the building. A tall projecting portico is positioned at the central entrance, which uses 29 ft tall Ionic columns to support a pediment that used to have a clock in its tympanum. A central tower rises behind this portico to a height of 121 ft, and is surmounted by a dome 30 ft. in diameter. The portico leads to an open vestibule that houses the main staircase situated underneath the dome. The south wing accommodates a spacious lecture theatre hall which measures 54 ft in length, is 34 ft wide and rises to an internal height of 35 ft. There were thrity lecture rooms in the building, alongwith science laboratories and a library designated the Lord Reay Memorial Library. Galleries for the public are located on the upper level.

    The building of the Sindh College is made out of yellow sandstone, whereas the flooring of the interiors was carried out with mosaic tiles imported from Belgium. The eight feet wide main staircase was elaborately detailed with ornamental cast-iron work imported from the MacFarlane & Co. foundry in Glasgow.
(adapted from Lari, 1996)



Old Picture



    Construction on the Lady Dufferin Hospital began on November 12, 1894, with its foundation being laid by Lady Elgin, the wife of Viceroy Lord Elgin. It is named in memory of Lady Dufferin who initiated the holding of women's durbars at the Government House on the days Lord Dufferin left Calcutta (ref. Lari 1996). The architect of the hospital is not known, however the building was designed in classical late-Renaissance style, with an arcaded facade on the ground level, and the first floor's square openings alternating with triangular and segmental pediments. A row of carved balustrades crowned the top of the building which have unfortunately been removed and covered up with plaster in recent years. The central entrance to the building is defined by a triangular gable crowning the top, whereas the gate is framed by an archway with a complimentary arched window at the top floor. The hospital was completed by 1898, and cost a total of Rs. 105,000 (ref. Lari 1996).

Lady Dufferin (Hariot Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood), whom the hospital is named in memory of, was the wife of Viceroy Lord Dufferin and took an avid interest in the healthcare of women. She is credited with the foundation of the National Association for supplying Female Medical Aid to the Women of India in 1885, also known as the Countess of Dufferin Fund.



Old Pictures


Current Pictures


    The Civil Hospital Karachi was established in 1898.

Contribution note: Further information about the history of this building and present-day pictures of it are required. Please help the website by contributing them.


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