Lowji Nusserwanji Wadia

Lowji Nusserwanji Wadia – the shipbuilder from Surat

In 1736 East India Company officials, very impressed with the work of a young Paris foreman in their Surat dockyard in north-west India, invited him to Bombay with ten of his carpenters to build the Bombay shipyard. The Wadias made ships of Malabar teak for an international clientele. Their Bombay Frigates were ordered by the British Admiralty and used in the Napoleonic wars.

One of their ships sailed the world for years with the following message carved on her by the chief shipwright, Jamshetji Wadia: “This ship was built by a d—-d Black Fellow AD 1800.” Some of the Wadias still live in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) to this day.

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