Mercantile Bank of India - Bombay - 1942
Esplanade Rd, Fort.
Originally established in Bombay as the Mercantile Bank of Bombay in 1853, the bank was granted a royal charter in 1857 and it was later renamed the Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London & China in 1868. Its Head office was moved to London and it competed with the two other great British banks (the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank and the Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China) involved in trade between India and China and other British possessions in Asia. It was renamed the Mercantile Bank of India in 1893.
The Mercantile Bank of India had branches across India, the Straits Settlements and FMS, in Hong Kong and in Shanghai. It issued banknotes in Penang, Singapore and Hong Kong. Photos of its other branches that I have taken can be seen at:-
Madras (1923) - www.flickr.com/photos/23268776@N03/3034917404/
Ipoh (1931) - www.flickr.com/photos/23268776@N03/2328460401/
Shanghai (1922) - www.flickr.com/photos/23268776@N03/2858480146/
Situated in the financial heart of Bombay, the style of this modern building incorporates both classical and Art Deco elements and in its day, it was a refreshing departure from the almost ubiquitous Gothic Revival style so popular in the city. The architect was Australian John Ritchie assisted by L Palfi. The bank's stylised logo "MBI" can be seen in relief just below the flagpole.
The Mercantile Bank of India was acquired by its rival the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank in 1959 and the office now houses the HSBC Group's Head Office in India.