Posted on: 17 April 2014

Byculla Club, Bombay - 1855

A photograph of the Byculla Club, Bombay from the 'Vibart Collection of Views in South India' taken by an unknown photographer about 1855.The Byculla Club opened in 1833, the first of Bombay’s residential clubs serving the British residents of the prosperous and elegant suburb of Byculla. It was turned into a hospital during the First World War and was eventually sold in the 1920s.

Copyright © The British Library Board

 View Post on Facebook

Comments from Facebook

So where is it now?

A curious little article on the Byculla Club written on 'The World according to Sroyon' blog: ..."The book was written in 1916, four years before the Club ceased to exist, and it is a charming and delightful chronicle, if you happen to like that sort of thing. It has extracts from the Club Minute Book, invoices, croquet scores, lavish dinner menus, and many such fascinating things."... Read more:


Excellent. Good research stuff.

I think the club no longer exists. Original Race course was also in Byculla and later shifter to Mahalaxmi.

Was it converted to Masina Hospital

" Let India be my judge. " -- Lord Curzon at the Byculla Club -- November, 1905.

No, not Masina hospital. That was also "Sans Souci" , the erstwhile home of Baghdadi jews, Sassoons , in Byculla. "Byculla Club" came up on the stand of the old Bombay race course. The club evolved from the "Sans Souci Club" which initially started as the Highland Society. Late Sharada Dwivedi & Rahul Mehrotra in their book on Bombay (The Cities within) recount how Byculla Club members fought against the barbarism of electric fans in the dining room, preferring to dine only with the traditional hamal , fanned by native servants. As the business center of Bombay moved out of Byculla, Club members delayed the sale of their club land for years, eventually selling out in 1940s. Each member got approx GBP 1,100 !

Thanks Ratnesh Mathur! Amazing information.

Re : " Each member got approx GBP 1,100 ! " An interesting historical nugget. £ 1,100 in 1949 = about 20,000 GBP today. As the Byculla Club closed its doors for the last time in 1920 ---- do you know who these ' members ' were in the late 1940s Mr Mathur --- and how many of them there were ? Property in Bombay these days, of course, changes hands for astronomical sums.

Byculla club was there till 20th century but Race course had shifted to Mahalaxmi in late 19th Century. Please share some info on Race course if any one can

Sameer, Race course at Mahalaxmi ( Royal Western India Turf) came up in 1924, next to the Willingdon Club, established in 1917, overlooking the Hornby Vellard promenade. Willingdon (Bombay Guv'nor, Willingdon initiated) club was the first Bombay club to allow membership to Indians too. All other clubs in Bombay until then were for Europeans only. Some (like the nearby Breach Candy Swimming club) continued to have a board outside stating "Indians & Dogs not allowed" until 1940s.Willingdon offered cricket, polo, golf, tennis etc. & the race course came up, just across it. The new race course was made by an Australian firm & according to Dwivedi/Mehrotra, may have been built at a lower level than the Hornby promenade (sea-front at Haji Ali ), to accommodate overflows.

Does this structure exist in any way now? If yes then where exactly?

Thanks Ratnesh but I have a strong feeling Mahalaxmi Race course is older than 1924 or perhaps there was some connection between the old Byculla and Mahalaxmi Race course and some new buildings were added to Mahalaxmi in 1924 officially

Not sure, Sameer. Am just quoting from Dwivedi/Mehrotra book. No further detail on it.

Any info on Mahalaxmi Bridge?