The Hornby Vellard, completed in 1784 was one of the first major engineering projects which transformed the original seven islands of Bombay into one landmass. Work on the Vellard was started in 1782 by William Hornby, then Governor of Bombay, against the wishes of the directors of the East India Company.
The purpose of this vellard was to block the Worli creek and prevent the low-lying areas of Bombay from being flooded at high tide. The cost was estimated at about Rs. 100,000. The story goes that Hornby ordered the work to be started after the Company turned down his proposal; and continued as Governor till the end of his term in 1784, ignoring the suspension notice sent to him.
Another story connected to the construction of the vellard is about the origin of the Mahalakshmi temple. Apparently after portions of the wall collapsed twice, the chief engineer, a Pathare Prabhu, dreamt of a Lakshmi statue in the sea near Worli. He recovered it and built a temple for it, upon which the work on the vellard could be completed without a hitch.