Hyderabad: Deccan Heritage Academy chairman M. Vedakumar on Monday requested the managing committee of the Secunderabad Club to restore its ”previous glory” in view of the massive fire that broke out and destroyed the structure two days ago on January 18.
Vedkumar, a civil engineer and a heritage conservationist, while expressing his shock at the massive fire that engulfed the Secunderabad Club in the early hours of Sunday, requested the state government to take steps to conserve the historic heritage building structure.
He said that the Club which was established in 1878 had several unique qualities, antique collections, and facilities. He said that Salar Jung 1, Mir Turab Ali Khan who served as the Prime Minister between the third and fifth Nizams of Hyderabad, resided at the club during his hunting trips. He added that some of the trees there were more than 100 years old, home to a variety of birds.
M. Adithya Reddy, son of senior congress leader Adithya Reddy alleged that the committees constituted by the state government for preserving and restoring heritage should be pulled up.
“Of what use is it declaring heritage buildings but not following any protocols to safeguard them. It is the duty of the committees to ensure such heritage structures follow safety norms and with timely safety checks and heritage protection protocols,” said M. Adithya Reddy.
The historic club is among the oldest clubs in India, alongside the Bengal Club of Calcutta, which went through two name changes before the name ‘Secunderabad Club’ was finally chosen. The club was established on 26 April 1878 and was originally known as the Secunderabad Public Rooms. It was renamed the Secunderabad Garrison Club, the Secunderabad Gymkhana Club, and the United Services Club.
The earliest records state that this club was formed by the British Army Garrisons that were stationed in Secunderabad under an agreement with the third Nizam – Sikandar Jah. The Club was then known as Garrison Club.
Over the period of 15 to 20 years, the British presence in Hyderabad increased and they brought in their civilian officers to look after the Nizam’s Railways, as well as the judicial administration to administer the cantonment area.
The Clubs ‘Colonnade Bar’, billiards room, upstairs ballroom, main reception, and staircase leading to the first floor were damaged by the blaze.
The members-only club has a wide range of lavish facilities including a swimming pool, air-conditioned bars, dining halls, banquet halls, a petrol pump, its own supermarket, a cricket field, and vast lawns. It even has its own dedicated sailing annex, something only a few clubs across the world can boast about.
It also has five-star accommodation that includes ‘heritage suites’. A colonnade patterned in the old British style, a spacious ballroom, and an open-air theatre that regularly screens films are some of its other facilities.