Archives in Stone

Written by Ghania Shams Khan

Signage for a public carriage stand | Copyright Marvi Mazhar & Associates

In 1885 the East India tramway company was established. The tram carriages were pulled by horses till 1905 when they were replaced by petrol run trams. This transit system in its early stages left many marks in the old town like the water troughs for the horses who used to drag the Victoria carriages, here pictured is a signage for a carriage stand which is carved with the SPCA (Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals). During the British rule this act was passed based on the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in the UK.
This particular signage represents these important parts of history all together. It presents a dialogue in Karachi when trams were run by horses and the concern for the protection of animal rights as well. With a sculptural style from the colonial era it exists in a dilapidated state like the disappearing water troughs which served an almost similar purpose for the horses running the Victoria carriages.
Such troughs and carriages managed by Karachi municipal, are now left abandoned and disused. Such signage require attention as they are records of Karachi’s history and an archive of its development in the colonial era.