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Naval dockyard, Mumbai: Entry to the dockyard is restricted to naval personnel only

Bombay Dockyard—also known as Naval Dockyard—is an Indian shipbuilding yard at Mumbai.

Shipbuilding was an established profession throughout the Indian coastline prior to the advent of the Europeans and it contributed significantly to maritime exploration throughout Indian maritime history.[1] Indian rulers weakened with the advent of the European powers during the middle ages.[2] Indian shipbuilders, however, continued to build ships capable of carrying 800 to 1000 tons.[2] The shipbuilders built ships like HMS Hindostan and HMS Ceylon, inducted into the Royal Navy.[2] Other historical ships made by the Indian shipbuilders included HMS Asia (commanded by Edward Codrington during the Battle of Navarino in 1827), HMS Cornwallis (on board which the Treaty of Nanking was signed in 1842), and HMS Minden (on which The Star Spangled Banner was composed by Francis Scott Key).[2]

Mural on the walls of the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai

The New Cambridge History of India: Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India surveys the role of Indian shipbuilders—Lowji Nuserwanji Wadia and the Wadia family in particular:[1]

Between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries Indian shipyards produced a series of vessels incorporating these hybrid features. A large proportion of them were built in Bombay, where the Company had established a small shipyard. In 1736 Parsi carpenters were brought in from Surat to work there and, when their European supervisor died, one of the carpenters, Lowji Nuserwanji Wadia, was appointed Master Builder in his place. Wadia oversaw the construction of thirty-five ships, twenty-one of them for the Company. Following his death in 1774, his sons took charge of the shipyard and between them built a further thirty ships over the next sixteen years. The Britannia, a ship of 749 tons launched in 1778, so impressed the Court of Directors when it reached Britain that several new ships were commissioned from Bombay, some of which later passed into the hands of the Royal Navy. In all, between 1736 and 1821, 159 ships of over 100 tons were built at Bombay, including 15 of over 1,000 tons. Ships constructed at Bombay in its heyday were said to be ‘vastly superior to anything built anywhere else in the world’.
The Treaty of Nanking was signed in 1842 on board HMS Cornwallis (1813), made by the shipbuilders at the Bombay Dockyard.[2]


  1. ^ a b Arnold, 101-102
  2. ^ a b c d e Early History (Indian Navy), National Informatics Center, Government of India


  • Arnold, David (2004), The New Cambridge History of India: Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-56319-4.

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