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Elphinstone College, Bombay.

Elphinstone College, Bombay.

Photographer: Bourne and Shepherd

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1870

Shelfmark: Photo 937/(27)

Item number: 93727

Length: 22.4

Width: 27.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of Elphinstone College in Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra, taken by Bourne and Shepherd in 1870, part of an album of 40 prints by various photographers mostly dating from the 1860s. Bombay, the capital of Maharashtra and one of India's major industrial centres and a busy port, was originally the site of seven islands on the west coast, sparsely populated by Koli fisherfolk. Bombay was by the 14th century controlled by the Gujarat Sultanate who ceded it to the Portuguese in the 16th century. In 1661 it passed to the English as part of the dowry brought to Charles II by the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza. By the 19th century Bombay was a prosperous centre for maritime trade and the British began a phase of developing and expanding it. It became a centre for education for Bombay Presidency. The famous Elphinstone College is named after the scholarly Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859) who started his career as a civil servant with the East India Company, rising to Commissioner of the Deccan in 1818 and subsequently Governor of Bombay, 1819-1827. He was reponsible for the beginning of higher education in the city. In 1824, an English school was set up by the Bombay Native Education Society, for Indian students at a time when the opinion in Britain was against educating the 'natives'. Money was collected by public subscription to fund teaching professorships in the English Language and the Arts, Science and Literature of Europe. The professorships were in honour of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, the retiring Governor of Bombay. In 1835, two Elphinstone professors opened classes distinct from the school. In 1840, the professors' classes were amalgamated with the Society's School to form the Elphinstone Native Education Institution. In 1945, the name was shortened to Elphinstone Institution. On 1st of April, 1856, the Institution was divided into the Elphinstone College and the Elphinstone High School. In 1860, the Elphinstone College was recognised by the University of Bombay. The imposing building of the college was designed by James Trubshawe (flourished 1860-75) in the 'Romanesque Transitional' style and completed by an engineer, John Adams. The generosity of a leading citizen of Bombay, Sir Cowasji Jehangir, helped fund its construction.

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