The home of the Maharashtra Police Headquarters (since 1982) was once the Royal Alfred Sailor’s Home. The construction of this building commenced in 1872 and was completed in 1876 at a cost of Rs 366,629 (Rs 2,000 less than the estimated cost!). His Highness Maharaja Khanderao Gaekwad of Baroda had been generous enough to donate Rs 200,000.
The structure was conceived to commemorate the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1870. The duke laid the foundation stone at the lower end of Hornby Road, but the site was later changed to Wellington Fountain (also known as Regal Circle, but officially called Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Chowk).
Architect Frederick W Stevens, known for the Victoria Terminus, designed this 82 metre (270 feet) long and 18 metre (58 feet) wide building ingeniously. He used blue basalt in the facing with different coloured natural stones in the detailing, so as to impart a polychromatic effect. The building was built in a style blending Gothic, Neoclassical and Moorish architectures, and decorated with mythical sea creatures.
There are 2 wings, the north and the south. Dining rooms for officers and sailors were located to the north end of the ground floor, which had a grand entrance hall with a panelled teak ceiling at the centre. Iron railings placed on neatly designed ground arches protect the blue basalt stone stairs. The southern half of the ground floor accommodated a large library, the superintendent’s office and storerooms. The entire north wing of the first floor was set apart for the officers’ dormitory. The remainder portion of this section and the second floor, with the exception of a small portion at the extreme south of the budding, was used by seamen. In the yard were the servants’ quarters and a fine bowling and a skittle alley.
A sculpture of Neptune adrons the pediment at the top, with red Mangalore tiles on the pitched roof. The sculptures were crafted by students of the JJ School of Art.
The Government acquired the building in 1928 at a cost of Rs 444,375 for the use of the Bombay Legislative Council. A new Council Hall was constructed behind and connected by the corridor to main building. Today, the building houses the office of the Director-General of Police.