The restoration of the 137-year-old Kipling House is due to be completed in the next 6 months to restore its original look. The restoration began three years ago and as it is nearing completion, a mid-day walk through the premises on JJ School of Arts’ campus allowed for a glance into the beautiful bungalow.
The conservation project began in February 2016 by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, a state government department. However, after beginning the structural work, funding ran out. An estimate of Rs 3.5 crore for the remaining work is being prepared to be submitted to the Secretary of Culture of Maharashtra next week. The remaining work is anticipated to take another four to six months once the funding is approved.
Home To Many JJ College Deans
The Kipling House was built in 1882 and named after Rudyard Kipling. In his poem, ‘To the City of Bombay’, Kipling described the location of the bungalow. It was built more than a decade after Rudyard and his sister moved to Englsih in 1865. The original house that Kipling was born in was demolished and the Kipling House was built in the spot next to it. His father, John Lockwood, was a professor at JJ College and served as the first dean of the college. He and his wife Alice resided in the bungalow. The Kipling House was a place of residence for several college deans until the early 2000s.
The Bungalow Design
The bungalow consists of four rooms, two balconies/porches on the first floor, and two large rooms along with a caretaker unit on the ground floor.
It is thought that the PWD may have constructed additional toilets around the time when the dean of JJ College of Art and Architecture lived in the bungalow in the early 200s. The director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Dr. Tejas Garge, said that the toilet on the ground floor is that only one that was part of the original construction.
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“The toilets on the first floor were the main cause of damage to the structure. The wooden beams had rotted due to leakages in the toilets. The toilets were not present on the upper floor during the British era. As the two toilets were not part of the original structure, they were removed to ensure the same problem doesn’t recur,” he said.
He also mentioned that an additional toilet block at the entrance will be proposed for the remaining work in the new estimate that will be submitted next week.
“A toilet on the ground floor is still functional and it will be kept open for officials only. We will construct a toilet block near the entrance so that it does not affect the bungalow’s landscape and people get access to toilets as well,” said Garge. He added that once the restoration project is completely finished and open to the public, visitors could use the toilets on the JJ College premises as well.
The Restoration Project
The conservation work so far has cost around Rs 4.5 crore and has been focused on strengthening the building’s foundation and balconies. This has involved using the splicing method in which only damaged parts are changed. A member of the team working on the project explained, The building’s periphery is exposed to a lot of environmental wear and tear. As there was no maintenance of the structure, it was in a bad shape. Both the balconies had to be completely redone”. Landscape work is being done in the area surrounding the bungalow that will include a small amphitheatre with two to three steps to serve as a seating area.
“A small platform will be constructed to serve as a stage. Functions involving approximately 200 people can be organised in the amphitheatre. Work will also include rejuvenation of the fountains,” Garge said.
He explained that while the plan is yet to be finalised, the bungalow will also include two display galleries while the remaining space could either be used for lectures or functions. “It is being decided at a higher level between secretaries of culture and education,” he added.
Quotes from Mid-Day.com