#TalkTheWalk 5: Esplanade Estate by Dr. Rashna Poncha
The year was 1862. The Governor, Sir Henry Bartle Frere. The time was right to explore a new vision of Bombay. The large rambling Bombay Fort stood in the way of progress and change. There was no longer a need for a defensive structure – the British were the paramount power in India – and orders to demolish it were given. Governor Frere envisaged the creation of a new town rising on the rubble of the old walls. A ‘Rampart Removal Committee’ was set up to create a new district, an area of elegant residences, business, education and government buildings, utilising the land on which the fort had stood as well as the large Esplanade. Along the periphery of the old Fort and Esplanade came up one of the city’s most impressive urban development projects. The ‘New Town’ or ‘Frere Town’ as it came to be known, was to be representative of the British colonial empire in India. Our #TalkTheWalk by Dr Rashna Poncha focuses on the planning and growth of one area of Frere Town, which the Bombay Improvement Trust later called the Esplanade Estate, a roughly trapezium-shaped area carved out of the Esplanade on the edges of the Fort walls and leased out to private individuals, that became synonymous with the spirit of commerce and enterprise that this city is famous for.