Around 50 members attended the BACSA General Meeting (and curry lunch), at the Union Jack Club, London, on 19 October 2023.
After being welcomed by the President, Sir Mark Havelock-Allan, we listened with enthusiasm to a presentation by Denise Love on the projects being supported by BACSA at St Mary’s Cemetery, Chennai, and at Ambala Christian Cemetery, Haryana, followed by reports from BACSA members on the condition of cemeteries recently visited in Mirzapur, Mussoorie, Naini Tal and Simla.
Rosemary Raza, Events Organiser, next gave us diary dates for three forthcoming BACSA events: Visit to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, on 15 Nov 2023; India on a Plate (a talk on blue and white china), on 17 Jan 2024; and Court to Court: Contact, Conflict and Costly Gifts; The British Monarchy and India, 1600-1947 (a talk on items in the Royal Collection, followed by dinner, at the East India Club), on 23 Apr 2024.
Dr Renate Dohmen, an Open University academic, then introduced us to her research into the 19th and 20th centuries art exhibitions held in British India. Renate is keen to hear from BACSA members who know of any amateur artist who exhibited paintings or drawings in India during that under-researched period. Please email Renate at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information in this area.
Finally, Dr Ellen Newbigin, a senior lecturer at SOAS, outlined the research she is carrying out on ‘Partition in India and Britain’, looking at the impact of Partition on British and European people who were based in the sub-continent in 1947.
As mentioned in the Spring 2023 edition of Chowkidar, Eleanor has interviewed several people (and/or their descendants) who worked in a range of professions and regions in India, including the railways and tea plantations, as well as nurses, teachers, the police service and the army. Her fascinating talk discussed their experiences, tentatively leading towards the broader findings being gathered through the project. Please contact Eleanor at email@example.com if you would like to contribute to this research.
The meeting closed, with most members staying to enjoy the Indian curry lunch – and using the opportunity to network with each other.
Many thanks to the staff of the Union Jack Club for their help in running this event so smoothly, and to meetings organiser Rosemary Raza, and other BACSA members, including Denis and Patricia Doble who for many years have manned the door. The publications and bric-a-brac tables, organised by Caroline Whitehead and Valerie Robinson, with the help of Anna Ahmed and Richard Bingle, made a substantial £155.
To put this sum in context, it will make a significant contribution to the cost of a year’s maintenance in a cemetery in India in which BACSA has undertaken conservation work.
Thanks to members who donated items for sale. We will welcome new supplies, particularly objects with an Indian connection.
Rachel Magowan, 13 Nov 2023