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The India Club in London announces closure

The India Club is the latest London landmark restaurant to announce its permanent closure, the charmingly eccentric restaurant at 143 Strand remained much the same since its opening more than three quarters of a century ago, but next month will close its doors forever. Lease renewal negotiations were cited as the primary reason.

Hidden up a flight of stairs, India Club was originally set up by the India League, to further Indo-British friendship in the post-independence era, and it quickly became a base for groups serving the Asian community. The India Club at 143 Strand came to be recognised as a welcoming space where visitors could seek advice, connect culturally, and speak their native language.

The Indian Journalist Association, Indian Workers Association and Indian Socialist Group of Britain were just some of the groups which used 143 Strand for their events and activities. The building was also a base for the new wings of the India League which ran a free legal advice bureau and a research and study unit from this address.

At a time when the daily lives and experiences of Asians in Britain could be difficult, 143 Strand was a significant focal point for the subcontinent diaspora communities. For a generation of pioneering migrants, it was a home away from home.

Yadgar Marker and his daughter Phiroza, the current operators of India Club announced its closure saying: “It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the closure of the India Club, with our last day open to the public on September 17.

Phiroza reflected: “We have run the place for 26 years. I have been helping here since the age of 10. This is heartbreaking.”

The India Club captured a bygone world. Its canteen featured an affordable menu including masala dosa, bhuna lamb, chilli paneer and yellow dal. It enjoyed a devoted following from the Indian High Commission, students from the London School of Economics and King’s College London, and the high court in The Strand.