The history of The Bengal Club dates back to 1827. Epitomizing elegance and class, it is one of the social clubs in the world that outlasted its colonial founders and yet retained its majestic legacy- blending in modernity with tradition.
Set up by a group of East India Company officials, the first president of Bengal Club was Lt Col J Finch. Military Secretary to Lord Combermere, Commander-in-Chief of the East India Company’s army and also the first Patron of the Club. His life-size portrait dating back to 1829, still adorns the Dining Hall wall.
During those days membership was largely confined to senior military personnel and top administrators along with a few medical professionals. Only six merchants and heads or directors of banks find mention in the first roster with 141 names. The Club soon became the city’s favourite social club.
The list of Presidents in the first 40 years includes some who’s who of British Indian history: Lord Metcalfe, Colville, Grant, Cotton, Outram, Frere- among others. During the 19th century it was customary to re-elect a President for several years and in keeping with this tradition, Sir Charles Metcalfe held the chair for 11 years in succession. During 1842 to 1844, the Club had Lord Ellenborough as its President- who was then the Governor General of India. The current custom of electing president on annual rotation started only since the early years of the 20th century