India Club in London faces partial demolition

A number of Indian and British parliamentarians, including Lord Karan Bilimoria and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, have backed the ongoing campaign to save its legacy.

Published: 10th May 2018 02:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th May 2018 02:50 PM   |  A+A-

Image Courtesy Twitter @onceuponatimeuk

By PTI

LONDON: The India Club in London, a hub for Indian nationalists in the UK during the Indian independence movement in the 1930s and 40s, is facing partial demolition of the building.

The Club, which has its roots in the India League which campaigned for Indian independence in Britain, had applied to Historic England for a listing as a historically important landmark to prevent the demolition.

However, the application was turned down this week on the grounds that there were similar organisations operating for the Indian community at the time.

"We are deeply disappointed with the decision which undervalues more than 50 years of India Club's historic, social and cultural importance," said Phiroza Marker, the manager of India Club.

"The rejection of the listing application is not only a personal blow to us as proprietors of 143 Strand, but also to the multitude of people who are intrinsically linked to the building through generations of their family history," Marker said.

"India Club has played a key role in immigrant history in the UK, as indicated by accounts from immigrants of the sub-continent that it was their first port of call and a home away from home," she said.

The club, which has functioned as an Indian restaurant on The Strand in the heart of London since 1946, is located on the first floor of the 26-room Strand Continental hotel.

The freeholder of the building, Marston Properties, has put in an application with Westminster City Council for the "partial demolition and extension of existing seven-storey building with alterations at ground and basement levels" to create a new hotel.

The application has attracted an unprecedented 26 public appeals against such a move, with the club being categorised a "secret gem" and as having "unique historical value to Londoners and visitors".

"We would urge Westminster City Council to reject the planning application and preserve India Club for future generations," said Phiroza Marker, whose family has also collected over 21,000 signatures on an online petition for the council titled "Save the India Club".

Her father Yadgar Marker is the director of Goldsand Hotels Limited, trading as The Strand Continental Hotel which houses the India Club.

The family has been campaigning to prevent demolition since the news first emerged last year.

The Club is the contemporary incarnation of the India League established by Annie Besant in 1921 and then revived by Krishna Menon, India's first High Commissioner to the UK, in 1929.

A number of Indian and British parliamentarians, including Lord Karan Bilimoria and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, have backed the ongoing campaign to save its legacy.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp