Bowring History

Everything you need to know about our Heritage Club

Bowring Institute is one of the oldest and finest club in Bengaluru that illustrates the spirit of the garden city with a perfect blend of luscious green space and local heritage

Steeped in history, the Bowring Institute’s sprawling campus boasts of history that spans over a century. The institute was established in 1868 under the title of “Scientific and Literary Institute,” and ran its operations on the premises opposite to the St. Josephs Boys High school on Museum Road. The land that it is currently situated on was granted to the institute in 1888. The foundation stone was laid in the same year and the stately building that stands tall even today was completed in 1890. B.L. Rice - the first director of the Archaeology Department in Karnataka, Lewin Bentham Bowring - Chief Commissioner of Mysore and Gibson – the architect were instrumental in the realization of the institute.

Both the structure and its surrounds are a true reflection of the city – it fully embraces the spirit of Bangalore as the garden city and at the same time echoes the city’s rich colonial heritage. The evolution of the club from being a scientific and literary institute to incorporate spaces for social gathering happened almost seamlessly. The spatial program from its establishment till date spans out in ways to make it a social gathering space, a space for exchange of social and cultural ideas and a Literary and Scientific Institute.

Bowring has a cosmopolitan group of over 5,000 Members, comprising of all sections of the Society and the largest daily attendance of any Social Club in the State. The Main Building of the Bowring has been declared as a ‘State Protected Monument’ that is featuring a historical Main Hall and a Reading Room with its heritage dating back to 1888.

Bowring is a Social Club in the truest sense of the word providing elaborate Multi-Sports facilities such as Tennis, Badminton, Squash, Billiards, Snooker and Swimming Pool, Health Club and Guest Quarters with ATM facility.

I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all our dear members for your kind and overwhelming support in the recent Institute Elections. In return for reposing your faith and trust, your Managing Committee assure you that we will continue to use our best efforts and tirelessly work to introduce innovative ideas to provide the best amenities and services.

Presently our Institute is going through a period of transition. We certainly have a lot to look forward to in the near future. The strengthening, conservation and restoration of the Main Building have been completed and with the sanction of the General Body of Members, your Managing committee is planning to complete its interiors in the next few months.

The Presidential Suites and cottages have been renovated to star standards and the remaining rooms will also be similarly upgraded very shortly. Maintenance has been outsourced and has certainly produced good results.I am pleased to inform you that the Health Club has been thoroughly refurbished where the very best equipment has been procured. In addition to this, we have appointed a qualified and experienced trainer.

Your Managing Committee has recently introduced a Dry Cleaning and Laundry service offered by a reputed company, ‘Fabric Spa’ at discounted rates exclusively for our members.The catering services are being closely monitored to improve the range and quality of food together with maintaining the highest standards of service and hygiene. Recently a few continental dishes have been added to the menu.Your Managing Committee has also introduced a Pastry Shop, ‘Chocolate’ a well known brand in our city.

We are extremely fortunate and grateful to have very experienced staff and employees serving us on a daily basis. For the first time in the Institutes history we have introduced a ‘Marketing Portfolio within the Managing Committee to concentrate on attracting increased sponsorship for the various activities of our Institute and to generate additional revenue. The recent Sunday Brunch in July 2018 was a great example where the fusion of the Bar, Catering and Entertainment departments resulted in a very successful event.

Further integration of the various sports department is planned, where members can anticipate grand tournaments.

Your Managing committee will prudently work to further improve the financial strength of our Institute.

This Institute term would certainly showcase the very best in entertainment,where members could look forward to a wide variety of cultural and musical programmes.

I look forward to your continued co-operation, so that we can work together to improve the overall standards where our Institute will be recognized as one of the very best Private Members Social Club in our Country.

Guest Registration

Members need to register their guests at the Reception counters while entering the institute premises. In case of failure to do so, a condonation fee of ₹ 150 per guest shall be levied to the member. Further, the member shall produce the guest coupons when requested by the staff of the Institute.

Dress Code

Members & their guests shall not be allowed entry into the institute premises in sleeveless t- shirts, dhoti, pyjamas, shorts, half or 3/4th pants and shall wear only shoes. Men or guests wearing chappals of any make or kind shall not be allowed to enter the institute premises. We solicit members kind co-operation in strictly enforcing the above

Bowring has been awarded the ISO 9001:2000 Certification for its quality management system. This achievement of ours has attracted many to since its receipt.

We take pride in boasting the membership registration of over 5,000 in numbers, which includes the Honorary Life, Life & Permanent Members in addition to Corporate, Life Associate, Associate, Short Term Temporary and Non-Resident Members.

Bengaluru's Best Heritage Club
Years of Heritage
Our History

Major Milestones


The ‘Literary & Scientific Institute’ was founded in 1868 by Mr. Benjamin Lewis Rice, Chief Instructor of Education on Museum Road, Bengaluru, that was later christened as ‘Bowring Institute’.


In 1887, the erection of the Institute’s Main Building was crowned with success by Major General Rowlands and the plea to get a 12 Acres of land in St.Marks road was granted. The present Main Building was constructed in the year 1888 for the sum of approx. Rs. 23,000 without furnishings.


In 1892 the first Billiards Table was purchased, and the Grand Piano was brought in 1893. The Year 1903 witnessed the electrification of the Institute and also the Card Rooms was inaugurated. The Institute inherited the Residency Library with one of the first editions of Britannica Encyclopedia together with other priceless books that have been preserved to date.


Mr. Subramaniam was elected as the first Indian President in 1961 and Bowring Institute came to be known as the leading Institutes in the City.


The Badminton Courts were constructed in 1965. Our First Patron was His Highness Sardar Chikka Krishnaraj Urs and succeeded by His Highness Sri Chamaraja Wadiyar. The present Patron is His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka and the Vice Patrons are the Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, the Worshipful Mayor of Bengaluru City and the Constituency MP & area MLA.


Our Illustrations

In the absence of the descriptive particulars promised us the Bowring Institute, Bangalore, which forms the subject of our first illustration this week, we may say that the building was erected to commemorate the rule of one of the most popular Residents Mysore has ever had. The building is located in a park which is similarly named and fulfils in a small way the functions of a recreation room and library and a public hall.

Doyle, 1901

The Bowring Institute was once frequented mainly by Anglo-Indians. There were May Queen Balls with young girls wearing pastel dresses and flowers in their hair. Olive Dozey, a stately octogenarian and one of the oldest members of the Institute, remembers attending “wonderful dances” where the women had little cards with slim pencils attached, to note down the names of the men who had asked them for particular dances. There were two important meeting places for young Anglo- Indians; one was Crown Cafe in Richmond Town, nicknamed ‘Lovers’ ‘Nest’, and other was A.M Bakery in Fraser Town. Another favourite venue for parties and dances was the Richmond Institute, now the Frank Anthony School.


The famous Koshy’s Café and stores came through the Bowring Institute which acted as a catalyst for the same. “It was started by the late P.O Koshy, a banker who came out to work for the Quilon Bank which failed. He then worked part time as an accountant for the Bowring Institute where he took over the catering. The, with the encouragement and help of Canon Elphick and Dewan Bhadur K. Matthan, the well- known café and stores on St. Mark’s Road was started in 1952-53.

Jayapal, 1997

Bowring Institute and Koshy’s were embedded in the routines of people in Bangalore. “Koshy’s has faithful clients who still come looking for the old ambience. A newspaper cutting tells the story of a Briton, living in Bangalore during World War II, who had fixed evening routine: billiards at the Bowring followed by a tot or two of rum and Koshy’s roast chicken and mulligatawny soup. When he returned in 1993 to Bangalore, he followed his previous routine and tottered off to Koshy’s for his usual fare

Jayapal, 1997

Miss Mavis Ramsbotham recalled the YWCA or ‘Y’, dating back to 1892 and known for its social work, as another popular venue for celebrations and charity balls. She had been associated with it for forty-seven years and remembered with nostalgia the various events arranged for the army at the Bowring Institute

Jayapal, 2014