Wednesday, June 23

Citizens’ group goes digital with heritage sessions on Kolkata’s premier clubs

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A citizens’ group, formed to restore, revive and reuse built heritage of Kolkata and West Bengal, has been conducting sessions on the rich heritage of premier city clubs that are part of the legacy of the colonial past of Kolkata. These clubs, which originally began as places of British refuge and entertainment for the officials who visited the city, now stand as testimony to the cultural past of the city.The Calcutta Heritage Collective is conducting a series on the Glorious Heritage Clubs of Kolkata digitally, covering clubs like The Bengal Club, Calcutta Club, The Royal Calcutta Golf Club, Tollygunge Club and The Calcutta Rowing Club.
All of these clubs have a rich history to tell about. Calcutta Rowing Club was founded in 1858 and is one of the oldest rowing clubs of its kind outside the UK. It is in its 163rd year. It was founded by a small number of enthusiastic oarsmen in 1858, starting off as boathouse with a thatched roof on Chandpal ghat. It later shifted to its present location at the Dhakuria Lakes in 1928.

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You have successfully cast your voteLogin to view resultThe Tollygunge Club, another premier club of the city, was founded in 1895 as a meeting ground for British merchants and bankers, who sought refuge from the encounters of a sweltering city to carve out a niche for themselves in an otherwise alien environment.

The history of Calcutta Club is also very interesting. It was established in 1907 and the first president of the club was Maharajah of Cooch Behar. It was formed at a time when the existing Bengal Club only admitted ‘Whites’ as members.

On behalf of Calcutta Heritage Collective, poet, blogger, business consultant and event curator, Ipsita Ganguli was one of the hosts in these conversations. Economist, educator and theatre personality Suman Kumar Mukerjee also took part during the discussions about Calcutta Rowing Club.

“Our conversations covered the genesis of this club (CRC) and also the sport of rowing, spanning across the centuries. The talks also delved into the architectural facets of the clubhouse which were there from the beginning, like the structure of the boathouse to the bar. Perhaps, the only bar in the city to have a cellar and the only gym that still retains the ‘pankha’, Calcutta Rowing Club retains and uses its historic memorabilia commendably,” Ganguly said. Club president Chandan Roychowdhury hailed the initiative. “The young generation should know about the heritage institutions of the city,” he added.

Tolly CEO, Anil Mukherjee felt that the programme was an excellent effort to project Kolkata’s heritage which is intrinsic to the social fabric of the city.

Calcutta Heritage Collective is a voluntary citizen’s initiative, launched in March 2018. The group’s overall aim is to build pride in city’s built heritage through a broad range of activities, related to conservation and restoration, creative re-use of properties and spread heritage awareness.

Source: Times of India

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