Established more than 50 years ago by Krishna Menon, India's first High Commissioner to the UK, with founding members, Lady Mountbatten and Prime Minister Nehru, The India club was a meeting place for leading figures associated with post-independent India.
The club is located in Hotel Strand Continental, and is home to a restaurant and lounge bar whose interior have remain unchanged since the club opened in the 1950s. Three generations of the same family have run the India Club for over 23 years, from the oldest generation working behind reception to the youngest waitressing.
The crowdfund campaign is seeking an initial £25,000 to pay for legal costs after the club’s owners were served with a notice to vacate the premises by its property-developer landlord. However, the club estimates that double this figure will be needed to do so successfully.
According to the club, Westminster Council rejected the landlord’s previous redevelopment plans back in 2018 on the basis that losing the India Club would be materially harmful to the cultural provision of the area. However, it says the landlord has recently served the club with a notice to modernise and run the hotel from the property.
“If this fails, they want a crippling 80% increase in rent, amid a pandemic which has already had a devastating effect on us as a local independent business. To date, we have always met our rent obligations,” it says.
“This comes at a time when we have worked tirelessly to survive the pandemic, like many in the hospitality industry. Our aim has always been to preserve the India Club for future generations, and we are now appealing for your help.”
“Fighting the landlord - a multi-million pound property developer - for three years, combined with the pandemic, has taken a financial toll. We now need to raise at least £50,000 for legal costs to continue the fight.”
Any surplus funds or costs recovered will go towards the club’s rent costs.