The Shillong Club: All about Bountiful Leisure

Episode IX

Shillong being an administrative and educational hub is home to a great many heritage structures. These structures have in the past served as homes, offices, schools, churches and recreational centres for the British officers and their families. Out of these, recreational centres seem to have been a favourite. Undoubtedly, how can one look past the enthralling vision that Shillong is?

One such structure that serves as a recreational centre is The Shillong Club, which is a registered company under the management of seven Board of Directors at present.

In this episode of Shillong’s Iconic Structures, we bring to our readers The Shillong Club, one of the oldest clubs in the country and the second oldest in North East India, after the Jorhat Club.

Located at Kachari Road near the Deputy Commissioner’s office in the heart of the city, The Shillong Club was established by the British on September 7, 1878, exclusively for its Civil Service officers, military officials and officers relatively involved in the undertaking of tea plantations. The Club then served as an ideal place for their rendezvous after working hours.

The plans and designs for the construction of the building were prepared by Major TJ Williams, the first Executive Engineer of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Within six months, the project saw the light of day, and the building was named, The Shillong Club.

The original structure was, however, destroyed in the great earthquake of 1897.

Following the reconstruction of the clubhouse post the great earthquake, more facilities were added, like the tennis courts, a badminton court, and cottages for outstation members.

A devastating fire broke out on January 10, 1927, and destroyed the entire structure, including a priceless collection of books and furniture.

Post 1927, the Club was reconstructed. However, this structure was also burnt down in a fire that broke out on February 13, 1962. The building that stands today was constructed in 1969.

The Club owns land measuring up to 6 acres and the compound also accommodates the residential building, the tennis courts, swimming pool, the newly constructed building that houses the gym, an upcoming restaurant, and the staff quarters.

At present, the main building accommodates different rooms for billiards, dance, and tambola together with a bingo room, a bar, a library, and a card room.

There is a saying amongst members of the Club, “From dawn to dusk” – Dawn stands for Golf and Dusk for the Club.

To know more about the history of this heritage structure, watch the full episode on our Youtube Channel @TheShillongTimes as we take you on a trip down memory lane.

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