JSW Foundation signs MOU to restore iconic David Sassoon Library

The David Sassoon Library and Reading Room has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with JSW Foundation, to restore and conserve the iconic David Sassoon Library at Kala Ghoda in Mumbai.

JSW Foundation shall extend Technical and Financial support towards the Conservation, Restoration of the iconic library. JSWF has joined hands with Hermes, the Kala Ghoda Association, the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai and others to raise funds for this restoration project. Leading conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah will undertake the restoration which is expected to be completed in 2023.

The David Sassoon Library and Reading Room is a Grade 1 heritage building located in the historic art precinct at Kala Ghoda in South Mumbai. It is one of the oldest surviving libraries in Mumbai and among the first buildings to be built at Kala Ghoda in 1870. It was designed by Gostling and Campbell in buff-coloured trachyte (Malad stone) and limestone which gives the building its distinct character. Hemant Bhalekar, President of the David Sassoon Library and Reading Room Committee, “We have been waiting for this day for a long time. Our entire committee and its members are happy that the library building will be restored to its original glory. We would like to thank all the donors specifically Sangita Jindal and Abha Lambah for taking this initiative to conserve and restore the Library and Reading Room.”

During the last two decades, the David Sassoon Library has welcomed me and millions of people - especially during the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. This restoration MOU is our way to reciprocate and give this iconic library its due as a primary institution of learning in the heart of Mumbai’s art and heritage precinct. The Library’s proximity to the other educational and cultural institutions like the Elphinstone College, CSMVS Museum and other art galleries make it the fulcrum of Mumbai’s educational and cultural movement.

Sangita Jindal, Chairperson - JSW Foundation

The Victorian Neogothic-styled structure was originally built as a museum and library of mechanical models and architectural designs. It was principally used by a group of foreign mechanics working at the mint and government dockyard. The Institute was renamed in 1938 as the David Sassoon Library and Reading Room after the activities of the institute diminished. The Museum and Library was named after Sir David Sassoon, a Baghdadi Jew merchant, who funded the construction of the iconic monument. The David Sassoon Library’s entrance lobby doubles up as an art gallery, and along with its garden is used as a venue for the annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival exhibitions and events.Through active collaborations with organisations  and initiatives that preserve and promote the art, culture, and heritage of India, JSW Foundation is integrally involved in establishing art precincts, restoring heritage structures, and preserving Indian history!

Here are some glimpse of photos from the event