When you’re recounting the anecdotes from Bangalore’s British history, the Bangalore Club offers the most intriguing fables about the days of the Raj. Among the Britons that gathered for polo and drinks was Winston Churchill, who left his imprint with an irrecoverable debt of Rs.13 owed to the club. Read on to find out more about the club’s fascinating history!
Here’s a tale fit for a late-night huddle with the gossip mongers of history. The tale of the gentlemen’s clubs that invited the elite of the city for over 150 years. Meant to serve as a fond memory of the motherland to the British, the Bangalore United Services Club (now known as Bangalore Club) welcomed the officers of the cantonment for a match of polo or a drink of whiskey.
Among the sea of British Elite gracing the club’s doorstep was the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. A young man of 22, venturing into the kingdom of Mysore, he sought the closest piece of familiarity at the Bangalore Club. For three years since he became a member in 1869, he spent the time between battles for Her Majesty with books or polo at the club.
When the club opened its door to the ladies of the Raj, dance and music enlivened the atmosphere. The Bangalore Club was the site that witnessed Churchill’s infatuation for Pamela Plowden, a young beautiful English living in the city. The romance died with Pamela’s voyage to Britain to become Lady Lytton. The deed may have left the young lieutenant heartbroken.
Churchill left for England soon after but his legacy on the ledger with a bill of Rs. 13 owed to the club remains a relic of his time. He remained on the list of defaulters for decades after his departure from the shores of India. The debt was finally deemed irrecoverable in 1899 and written off, but the lasting record remains on display in the main building of the club. The club still stands strong today with over 7,000 members that relive the heritage of the days past.
Header Image Credit: Bangalore Mirror
Cover Image Credit: Bangalore Mirror
Facebook Cover Credit: WikiMedia Commons/Bangalore Mirror