The Naini Tal Club Ltd.

boatDuring their long sojourn in India, The British had established very many social and sporting clubs all over the country. These clubs had more or less an exclusive british Membership. In the pre-independent era. The Naini Tal Club Ltd, was considered one of the topmost of such Clubs. It was not only situated in a scenic and picturesque locality with a salubrious climate, but was the only club in India to provide inland-sailing (Yachting) facilities to its Members. The club possessed a large complex of buildings above the Malli Tal Bazar area,as well as Boat House on the Lake front. The club did not have any Indian Members,but some of these took an active interest and part in all the club’s activities and functions-however,for some reason no Indian Member ever took an interest in Yachting on the lake.

In 1943-44, my elder brother P.S. Jung and I, decided to shift our summer head-quarters from Mussoorie to Naini Tal. What attracted us was the excellent sports-fishing at that time available in the Lakes of prospects of taking upYachting,which would be entirely new sport for us. Later we managed to persuade H.C.R.Singh (Daju) and some other Indian friends to join us on the lake. Our keen interest and enthusiasm was greatly appreciated by the top sailors of that time : G.M.Hopkins,F.W.Champion,W.T.Hall and others. I was appointed joint Honorary Secretary of the Naini Tal Yacht Club from the end of the 1946 season. The other N.T.Y.C. Office bearers at that time were : Commodore: (as per tradition) Sir Francis Wyle,Governor of U.P. Rear-Commodore: F.W.Champion,and Honorary Secretary A.J.C.Richardson.


With the dawn of Indian Independence,all British clubs such as the Naini Tal Club Ltd. Found themselves in a very difficult position. The vast majority of members consisting of Britishers, having decided to leave India,were keen to liquidate such clubs and sell of their valuable assets. On the other hand, Indian members ,(though few in numbers) together with some of the British members who had decide to say on after Independence-were just as keen to keep there clubs going at all cost. This resulted in bitter feelings and disputes, and in some cases even in law suites. We at Naini Tal were just as keen to keep there clubs going at all cost.This resulted in bitter feelings and disputes,and in some cases even in law suites .We at naini Tal were fortunately spared this fate, mainly due to the efforts of the Indian Yachting enthusiasts and their British friends such as Mr.J. Stephens,Mr. G.M.hopkings, Capt. A.J.C.Richardson,Dr. P.S. Humm and other. All these people were mainly interested in keeping yachting goint at Naini Tal. It was obvious that if the Naini Tal Club Ltd,liquidated, the N.T.Y.C.would also cease to exist, as it (The N.T.Y.C.) was a part and parcel of the Naini Tal Club Ltd. In early June 1947,the official announcement by Lord Mountbatten (viceroy of India),that the country would be granted Independence on 15th,August 1947-brought to an end all speculation regarding this matter. The management of the naini Tal Club Ltd.,having rightly anticipated the coming of Independence,had already started legal consultation and taken matters in hand for the ultimate liquidation of the Club. They now decided to hold a General Meeting at the end of September 1947, to officially pass a Resolution of liquidating the Club. The club Management started negotiations with the Govt,of U.P.for sale of all buildings belonging to the club. They also received an offer from the cochin Yacht Club for purchase of the Fleet of nine. Yachts and other assets of the N.T.Y.C.

In view of the above mentioned actions of the Naini Tal Club Ltd,it become imperative that we (The Indian members and our British Supportes) had to act fast if we hoped to keep Yachting going at Naini Tal. So,hurried consultations and meetings were held to decide what action was to be taken. A very favourable point that came to light, was the fact that the Boat house building of the Naini Tal club Ltd,could not be sold off by the Club,as it stood on lease-hold land of the Naini Tal municipality. We were also fortunate in enrolling the support of Rai bahudur jaso Singh Bist, who was not only the Municipal Chairman at that time,but was also a leading lawyer and greatly helped us in all legal matters. He assured us that he would have the lease-hold rights of the Boat House land transferred to us. If we could persuade the Naini Tal Club Ltd.,to hand over the building to us. At this Juncture,we also got help from an unexpected quarter:Sir Edward souter a prominent businessman from Kanpur decided to extend his,and his friends whole hearted support to our-cause. Being an influential person, he could pull a lot of strings in proper places.


We formed a committee comprising of Sir Edward souter,Mr.G.M.Hopkins,Mr.J.Stephens,Mr.K.M.Wilcox and myself (Giri Raj Singh)-to negotiate with the Management of The Naini Tal Club Ltd. We proposed that The club should hand over to us their Boat house Building and the Fleet of nine Yachts and other assets of The N.T.C.,including”The good-name”of the Naini Tal yacht Club. The Club Management at first flatly refused to even consider our proposal. However, after many more meetings and proposals and counter proposals. We finally succeeded in convicing The club Management that without our co-operation it would be very difficult if not impossible to pass.The Resolution for liquidation at the General Meeting.They also relized that they could not dispose off The Boat House Building due to the lease-hold agreement with the Naini Tal Municipality. But what really turned the tide in our favour, was the fact that as time passed,more and more british Members of the Club extended their support and sysmpthies to our efforts. Even those who had never taken an active part in Yachting. Began to feel that what we were trying to do,was to keep up a sport that the British had themselves introduced to Naini Tal. They felt that the disappearance of yachting from Naini Tal,would not only be the loss of a wonderful sport, but this beautiful hill station would lose quite a bit of itscharm when the snow-white sails of the yachts were not seen on the Lake. In the face of this growing support to us, even the die-hards could not hold out much longer, and finally agreed to come to terms with our group. It was finally decided that :-
(1) The Naini Tal Club Ltd.,would hand over to us their lake-side Boat House Building with all its furniture and fixtures. The Gift-deed of the Boat House building was registered in the name of Mr.J.Stephens, Who held this in his name till the formation of the new club in June 1948. There was also the provision that the lease-hold of the municipal land on which the Boat House stood, would in due course be transferred to the name of the new club.
(2) The fleet of nine Yachts, some rowing and racing-boats and all furniture and fixtures and all other assets of the Naini Tal cant club, were personally purchased by Giri Raj Singh for a sum of Rs. 24,000\-It would not be out of place to mention here that the above amount was paid by Giri Raj Singh kept two Yachts for his own use, one Yacht was kept as propery of The N.T.Y.C.,and six of the remaining yachts were sold to other members.
(3) The Naini Tal Club Ltd.,also agreed to give over some extra furniture and fixtures, including a Billiard Table. All these were over personally by Mr.G.M.Hopkins and Giri Raj Singh in due course of time.
(4) The only condition imposed by the management of The Naini Tal club Ltd.,was that all their existing members would be taken as founder-members of the new club when it was constituted. We agreed to this, as it was obvious that a vast majority of the British Members would be leaving after Independence, and most of those who remained on, would also leave after natural termination of their services. And so, ultimately only a handful would be left in the country. In due course of time, our conclusion was proved right, and what we had anticipated came to pass. However unfortunately this did not prevent some ill-informed persons, who much later claimed, that the British had deliberately and without the knowledge of the Indian Members,inserted this clause about Founder Members in the final registration papers of The Boat House Club Ltd.,when it was formed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Boat House Club Ltd.,comes into existence:

The very first Point to be considered,was regarding the name of the new club to formed. At first it was more or less agreed that the new club be registered under the name of ‘Naini Tal Yacht Club”. However,some of our friends felt that the club should have a more broad based name, so as not to give the impression that it was an exclusive yacht Club, so it was finally decided to call it "The first meeting of the first committee of Management of the Boat House club Ltd.,was held on 29th May 1948. This committee consistedof:A.J.C.Richardson(President),Mr.P.L.Tandon,(Vice-Persident),Rajkumar,Giri Raj Singh (Hon.Secretary).And the following Members: Dr. P.S.Humm,Mr.K.M.Wilcox,Mr.H.Craighton Col., Grey,Mr.B.N.Jha. Later Mr J.Stephens and Raja H.C.R.Singh were also invited to join this committee. A Provisional committee had been formed in October 1947, consisting of Mr.G.M.Hopkins,Mr.J.Stephens. Thakur Dan Singh Bisht,Rajkumar: Giri Raj Singh and Mr.E.G.Brown. The Purpose of this committee was to see to the smooth taking over of all assets that were to be got from the Naini Tal Club Ltd.,to supervise the work of addition and alteration to the Boat House Building during the winter months of 1947-48,and in general,to arrange all matters so that the Boat House Building during the winter months of 1947-48,and in general,to arrange all matters so that the Boat House club would be ready to function from the very beginning of the 1948 season. Problem was the extreme shortage of funds. In this, Thakur Dan Singh Bisht came out rescue with a verry handsome donation. Other friends also helped with whatever amounts they could give, and in order to collect more funds we started enrolement of Members even before the club was officially registered. Somehow,with a lot of hard work by all concerned,and with a bit of luck,all went according to plan,and the Boat House Club Ltd.,was to never look back duringthe next fifty years, as of date.May the shadow of the actual and original founders of the Club have survived to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Club.

A history of the Boat House club would be incomplete,without mention of some well established and recorded facts regarding the commencement of sailing (Yachting) on the Lake.

The Year 1880-yachting comes to Naini Tal :

A certain Mr. Fleetwood Williams constructed a fairly large Yacht and launched it on the Lake. He was followed by an army officer: Colonel Henry,who went in for an even more ambitious project and constructed a cataraman type twin hulled boat. About that time,a business firm by the name of Murray and company,who dealt in sports goods,is said to have imported three yachts to be hired out to sailing enthusiats of Naini Tal. There is no reason to doubt that some more boats were either imported,or locally constructed at that time, of which no record is available.

The Year 1897-"The Naini Tal Sailin Club”is formed :

Naini Tal suffered one of the worst natural disasters of its history in September 1880, in the form of a massive landslide,in which hundreds of lives were lost and numerous buildings destroyed. It is just possible that this disaster and its after effects were mainly responsible for greatly slowing down the development of Yachting at Naini Tal. There appears to be no other reason why is took 17 long Years for Yachting to be well organised and a "Naini Tal Sailing Club” to be formed. The club is said to have possessed over half a dozen Yachts of various shapes,sizes and rigs. Possibly,bits and pieces of those boats of Yester-Years still lie scattered all over the bottom of our Lake.

The Year 1910- the first and original N.T.Y.C. comes into existence

Two enterprising brothers from the armed forces:Major C.W.Carey and Capt.,Came up with the idea on "one Design,”Yachts were designed by Linton Hope and constructed by Turks of England. It is on record that a strong cheena wind dismasted all the three boats in one day. So quite a few changes had to be made in the rigging etc., before the "One-design” Yachts as we know them today,were finally evolved. It was also at the initiative of the Careys that the first and original Naini Tal Yacht Club (N.Y.Y.C.) was formed in 1910. Cecil Carey was made Vice-Commodore for his services in the development of sailing at Naini Tal.

The year 1947 : The Original Naini Tal Yacht Club is dissolved : boat

The circumstances leading to the liquidation of the Naini Tal club Ltd.,also resulted in the original N.T.Y.C.,being dissolved, as this yachting club was a part and parcel of the Naini Tal. As already mentioned earlier,Giri Raj Singh purchased the entire assets, including the nine Yachts of the N.T.Y.C.on 27th.October 1947. there after, no Yacht or Sailing Club functioned at Naini Tal till the formation of the new or second N.T.Y.C.,in 1948.

The Year 1948: Formation of the new N.T.Y.C.

After all formalities of the formation of the Boat House Club Ltd. Had been completed in May 1948-Giri Raj Singh donated to the newly formed club all assets (excepts nine Yachts) that he had purchased from the old N.T.Y.C.,He kept two Yachts for his own use, donated one Yacht to the Boat house and sold the rest of the Yachts to other members. There after, the newly formed second N.T.Y.C.,came into being and started functioning as part and parcel of the Boat House club Ltd.,very much in the same manner as the original N.T.Y.C.,had functioned under the old Naini Tal club Ltd.,uptill 1947. G.M.Hopkins. He (Giri Raj Singh) held this office of commodore for the next 17 years,after which he was made patron for life of the N.T.Y.C.


The celebration of the Golden Jubilee of The Boat house club is a very happy occasion. There is little doubt that the Club is bound to prosper even further in time to come. However,the same can not be said of the N.T.Y.C., as the future of sailing at Nainital does not appear to be too bright at the moment. It is sorry state of affairs indeed when people have to be induced to sail by offer of substantial sums of money as prizes. The lack of interest and enthusiasm on part of our youngsters on the whole,has resulted in sharp fall in the entries for the various races of the two annual regattas.

The N.T.Y.C.has produced and nurtured some very talented sailors in the seventies who kept interest in sailing in the nineties and there can be no better tribute to the founding of the Boat House Club than to motivate youngsters to keep Seiling alive and active in the "GOLDEN JUBILEE YEAR” of the Club. This was the purpose for which the Boat House Club came into existence.

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