A Home Away From Home: The India Club exhibition

A wedding reception at the India Club

This month, a new National Trust exhibition opens in London, shining a light on the rich social history of one of the city’s most fascinating community spaces: The India Club.

Founded shortly after Indian independence by Krishna Menon, President Nehru and Lady Mountbatten, the India Club is perhaps better known for its close links with the India League. Originally located at 41 Craven Street before moving to 143 Strand, the club was established to ‘promote and further Indo-British friendship’and quickly became a vibrant hub for a growing British South Asian community in London.

With one of the earlier Indian restaurants in London, the India Club soon gained a reputation beyond the Asian community and became a hotspot for cosmopolitan Londoners. Virtually unchanged for over 50 years, the club still acts as a vibrant hub for a range of Anglo-Indian organisations and an extended community of journalists, writers, artists, academics and students who regularly meet there.

Based around a newly-formed archive of oral history interviews carried out by National Trust volunteers, this small audio-based exhibition will provide visitors with the opportunity to engage with the lives and stories of those who considered the Club a ‘home-away-from-home’ from the late 1950s to the present day.

David Joseph is pictured in the club's current home of 143 The Strand. His Dad, Joseph was the head waiter of the India Club for 40 years.
David Joseph is pictured in the club at 143 The Strand. His Dad was the head waiter of the India Club for 40 years.
David Joseph is pictured in the club's current home of 143 The Strand. His Dad, Joseph was the head waiter of the India Club for 40 years.
The India Club bar today, at 143 Strand, London.
The India Club bar today, at 143 Strand, London.
The India Club bar today, at 143 Strand, London.

Exhibition opens this month – entry will be free

From 30 January a new National Trust exhibition will be hosted in the club itself, now at 143 Strand, allowing you the unique opportunity to drink in the atmosphere of this living history. Immerse yourself in the interactive audio exhibits and hear the first-hand stories of people connected with The India Club: from freedom fighters and descendants of its founding members to former staff, BBC reporters who worked in nearby Bush House, as well as artists and writers.

An exciting public programme will bring the space to life

The exhibition will be accompanied by a vibrant programme of supper clubs, artist talks, screenings and conversations. Collaborators include the Migration Museum, Chocolate Films, Comfort Food Stories, Migrateful, and artist collective Specular Assembly.

Important information

Dates

30 January – 1 March 2019

Times

Monday to Wednesday: 12pm – 7pm

Thursday & Friday: 12pm – 5pm

Saturday & Sunday: 11am – 6pm

Location

Hotel Strand Continental, 143 Strand, London WC1R 1JA

Access

Building – no wheelchair access to the exhibition. Staircase with handrail to the first and second floors. Exhibition content available online soon.

Contact

If you have any further enquiries please email London@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 0207 824 7126.

Thank you to our collaborators

Our thanks go to those who have supported the creation of this exhibition.To the India Club managers, for lending us their space and for sharing so many contacts and stories. To the British Library, for providing us with a small bursary to train National Trust volunteers to conduct the oral history interviews. To our event partners: Migration Museum,Comfort Food Stories, Migrateful and Specular Assembly.To Chocolate Films for producing a beautiful series of documentary portraits of people connected to the club. But most of all to the people we interviewed, for sharing their stories with us.