David Sassoon Library opens to public after restoration; see pics
Sangita Jindal, Chairperson of JSW Foundation collaborated with India’s leading conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah to execute the restoration project. Reportedly, private donations worth 3.6 crores were used in this restoration project.
Mumbai’s iconic David Sassoon Library and Reading Room, situated at Kala Ghoda, opened to visitors on Saturday after restoration work was completed in a period of 16 months. The Victorian Neogothic-styled structure was originally built in 1867 as a museum and library of mechanical models and architectural designs. It is one of the oldest educational institutions in the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles of Mumbai’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and was originally styled by architects J Campbell and GE Gosling. The institute was renamed in 1938 as the David Sassoon Library and Reading Room after Sir David Sassoon, a Baghdadi Jew merchant, who funded its construction.
The restoration project of the heritage library was carried out by the JSW Foundation and the ICICI Foundation. Sangita Jindal, Chairperson of JSW Foundation collaborated with India’s leading conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah to execute the restoration project. Reportedly, private donations worth 3.6 crores were used in this restoration project.
David Sassoon Library boasts of books, periodicals, and manuscripts covering a wide range of subjects like history, philosophy, science, and more.
Apart from its magnificent architecture, another significant aspect of this significant restoration project was the rehousing of nearly 30,000 books in five languages, namely, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi and Kannada. Some of these books are very old and have been part of the library for years.
The founder of the library – David Sassoon, was also a prominent and interesting historical figure. He is said to be the treasurer of Baghdad between 1817 and 1829 and became the leader of the Jewish community in Mumbai after Baghdadi Jews emigrated there.
The Sassooon family is known for their riches. David Sassoon’s son, Abdullah changed his name to Albert and moved to England. He became a Baronet and married into the wealthy Rothschild family. According to legends, all the Sassoons of Europe are said to be the descendants of the David Sassoon family.