For the year ending December 2017
Objects and Activities: BACSA is an institution for the recording, preservation and conservation of former European cemeteries and isolated monuments in South Asia prior to 1947. It promotes education in the history of all places associated with European residence in the area from the Red Sea to the China coast – wherever the East India Company set foot. It is governed by its Constitution and Rules.
Public Benefit: to guide the public into researching and increasing its understanding of European lives and deaths in South Asia before 1947, through specialist help from BACSA members and others.
Achievements and performance: Grants were agreed or paid for 13 cemetery projects to a total value of £61,300, an increase of 160% over the 2016 figure. The Association’s partnership with the Deccan Heritage Foundation (DHF) to conserve the graveyard of the former British Residency in Hyderabad progressed smoothly. The Delhi Chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) joined BACSA in a project to conserve the Nicholson Cemetery in Delhi. The Association organised a series of lectures on the theme ‘Reconsidering the Raj’ in cooperation with the Institute for Historical Research, London. Members marked BACSA’s 40th anniversary with a lunch at the Oriental Club, London. They visited the East India Club. The sale of second-hand books donated by generous members raised £3,163.
Financial Review: The detailed accounts for the year to 31 December 2017 are published later in this report. Provisional figures suggest that our income from subscriptions rose to £5,553 from £5,130 in 2016. Donations amounted to just £5,296 – sharply down on last year’s donations of over £22,000. Other income streams including sales of dividends, second-hand books and publications remained steady. Unlike in recent years our expenditure exceeded our income by almost exactly £23,000 – this was partly the result of the drop in donations, but it also reflects the increasing costs of our projects in India. The investments held by BACSA were worth £272,246 at 31 December 2017 giving a capital return of 13.75% and this produced an income of £8,484 at a yield of 3.28%. During the year the Executive Committee decided to sell £20,000 of investments to support our ongoing expenditure on grants for the projects we support. BACSA faces very significant challenges financially in the years ahead due to a number of issues related to the costs of conservation of cemeteries in India. The significant drop in the value of the pound since the EU referendum in 2016 has resulted in our costs in India rising by 15-20%. Added to this are the introduction of a 12% general sales tax on most of the projects we are involved in, and the high inflation rate in India that is contributing to yet further significant increases in our project costs. The Association needs to find ways to raise significant additional funds to meet these demands. We have again had issues with Lloyds Bank where our instructions have been neglected resulting in precious time being spent on rectifying the faults. We are keeping the situation under review.
Plans: To continue to support work at Calcutta’s South Park Street Cemetery and the Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust’s restoration of the Scottish Cemetery Calcutta. Develop recording and conservation work in Burma. Maintain cooperation with the Families in British India Society. Maintain closer relations with the East India Charitable Trust. Develop contact with INTACH. Establish a BACSA presence on the Facebook social network. Digitize Chowkidar to make it freely available on the internet. Publish a leaflet for travellers to India using cemeteries as a way of increasing awareness of Britain’s contribution to the sub-continent’s heritage, and to raise BACSA’s profile.