Mills in Mumbai – Historic Textile Mills Of Then Called Bombay

A great transformation from port city to textile mills city Mumbai was at around 1980’s which boosted city economy. From then till now many such mills like Dawn Mill, Zenzi mill, Phoenix mill, Kamla mills at mill prominent locations like Worli, Lower Parel, Byculla, Parel and Cotton Green in western and central Mumbai which was once survival source to lakhs of workers has been continuously been converted to High rise buildings (Skylines) and commercial complexes which is the demand of today and can fetch lucrative money for developers. Lets see the historic mills, few of which still remains with iconic 200 feet tall Chimneys which will remind us always about the Historic and Heritage Bombay once we had.

Old Mills
Old Mills

Facts about Mumbai Mills and Tall Chimneys

  1. Mill Union Names : Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti & Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh.
  2. Girangaon : A name used for referring ‘Mills Village’ location of central Mumbai (Parel, Byculla, Cotton Green etc.) which once had more then Hundred mills.
  3. In 2008, NTC (National Textile Corporation) owned India United Mill 2 and 3 are the only 2 mills got conservation tag by MCGM.
  4. Today’s Peninsula Tower at Lower parel was Dawn Mills Before and and High Street Phoenix Mills are two places which still has the long Chimney’s in western Mumbai route. Few more remains of famous mills like China mill at Sewri (Central Route of Mumbai) which has skyline by Dosti Realty group with name ‘Dosti Falmingo’ has Chimney retained.
  5. Major mills and properties are with private developers and they can keep or flat down the Chimney’s while redevelopment to Skylines.
  6. Tallest Chimneys height at remains of mills are about 200 Feet.

Mills History

Lower Parel at Phoenix Mills
Lower Parel Phoenix Mills Chimney (Old Textile Mills)
  • 1854 was the year when Mumbai got its first mill called ‘Bombay Spinning Mill’ famous for producing Cotton textiles to be exported to Britain.
  • By 1870 there were about 13 mills and by 1875 total count of mills in Mumbai was about 70 which still went up to 83 by 1915.
  • South Mumbai was the place selected to Major mill business which still has lots of old mills and industries which are now closed. Famous mill locations are Lower Parel, Cotten Green, Parel, Worli, Lalbaug, Byculla.
  • In 1982 about 2.5 lakhs mill workers went on strike against ‘Bombay Mill Owner Association’ with leader ‘Datta Samant’ demanding wage increase.
  • In 1991, State government announced Development Control Rule 58 which stated, Mill lands could be sold to others with some terms and conditions applied.
  • National Textiles Corporation (NTC) is one of huge which had about 25 mills owned in the island city. They started selling few of the mills to private businesses / developers in 2005. In 2006 Supreme court said that the sale of mills was legal and mills to skylines for corporates and luxurious residential was legal.
  • In 2010 NTC made decision to start 3 of the old Mills which will help Mill workers for bread butter. Name and locations of same are ‘Tata Mills at Hindmata’, ‘India United Mills Number 5 at Kalachowkie’ & Podar mills at Chinchpokli.
  • 2016, Their are no smokes in any Chimneys and Remains of few mills (Closed), Few developers kept the Chimneys and Structures are seen. High hopes of Mill workers getting low cost housing seems to be fulfilled soon.

Names, Locations of Historic Mills

Zenzi Mill, Finlay mill at parel, Kohinoor 1 and 2 mill at Dadar, Phoenix mill, Madhusudan Mills at Worli, India United no.6 at Dadar, Kamla Mill, Jam at Lalbaug, Sitaram, Podar Processing and Bharat Mill located at Worli, Dawn Mill, Sri Ram Mills, Tata Mills, Podar Mills, Bombay Spinning mill, Digvijay mills, The Khatau Mill at byculla, Jupiter mill, India United no.4 at Kalachowkie, Kohinoor Mill, Mafatlal Mill Byculla, New Hind mill at Cotton Green (Central Mumbai), Swan, Orkay, Raghuvanshi, Ambika, Cacilo, Simplex, Kamani, Novelty, Sun and Shakti Mill Lower Parel. Complete list of mills with details of current status can be found at Wikipedia.

With the sudden change in Mumbai development, lifestyle needs, commercial skylines demand by corporates, commercial growth in terms of people taste and preference, the real estate growth at prime locations of south Mumbai like Lower Parel soared and till date the development of residential and commercial skylines is at high washing away the heritage and historic Mills and their chimneys. Our Chief Minister of State Shri. Devendra fadnavis is working around to justify the mill workers with low cost homes which they are waiting since long and fast ageing and developing city creates fear of future. Hope our CM gets the smiles back as soon possible. Let the Mumbai grow, But not at the cost of 100% destruction of Heritage and Historic structures and never with few faces smiling and many with tears.

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Deven Jadav

My love towards Mumbai city took me to passion blogging from hobby. Upon quitting job, now i am one of the online city & travel guide since 2007. Hope my efforts helps citizen, foreign nationals & tourists in some or other ways.

2 thoughts on “Mills in Mumbai – Historic Textile Mills Of Then Called Bombay

  • November 16, 2019 at 4:03 am

    I am looking for the details about Ambika mills located in Lower Parel. It was proposed to transform into Namaste Tower. Can you please help me find the plan and elevation of Ambika mills. Would be a great help for my case study about Namaste Tower.

  • July 15, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    I want lalbugae to kala chouki girani mill names


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