India Club Exhibition

  • Qanitah Malik

The India Club Exhibition, in February 2019, shone 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 provided 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.

I coordinated an oral history project by identifying smaller community groups, creatives and organisations, and developed partnerships with them in order to connect to audiences that were otherwise not aware of NT. Apart from this, I carried out research on the hitsory of corner shops, maintained databases, carried out risk and health and safety assessments as well as drafted project evaluation reports. A few months later, as part of Heritage Open Days, I spearheaded this event to ensure legacy of this project. I collaborated with oral history participants, undertook marketing activities, planned team duties and delivered the event as front-of-house staff, rising up to challenging situations on the day while working collaboratively with my colleagues and the venue managers.