In the Fort area was a historical club founded by the members of the Indian Navy as far back as 1845. As suited them and their proud vessels, it was within a stone’s throw of the dock and the harbour. It was situated in Rampart Row, West, which has sometimes been called Ropewalk. It was located on the premises which had been afterwards occupied for years by the P&O company. This Club, of course, was confined to members of the Indian and Royal Navy. It, too, had its own rich naval traditions which seem to have been lost in oblivion, but one could wish that they were ransacked and collected in a readable form as they would constitute a distinctive and remarkable chapter in the making of Bombay for a century.
In the 1850s, the Bombay Club, as it was called, was a flourishing institution; and though strangers were confined to the tearoom, the one proud trophy the Club possessed was to be seen there. It was a bell which one of the warships of the Indian Navy had brought as a prize from the first Burmese War. The bell is still in existence, having been taken over as a valuable historical asset from the old Club by its successor. The present Bombay Club is in no sense a naval club. It is open to all European merchants, specially bankers, traders, mercantile assistants and brokers. But the glory which the Indian Navy shed on its own original institution is gone.
** The above passage is an extract from the book, ‘My Recollections of Bombay, 1860-4875’ by Sir D E Wacha (published by K T Anklesaria and printed by Syed Abdulla Brelvi at The Bombay Chronicle Press, Meadows Street, Fort, Bombay)