The Bengal Chamber Of Commerce & Industry 1853-1953,A Centenary Survey By Geoffrey W. Tyson,C.I.E.

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There hangs in a frame in the main committee room of the BENGAL CHAMBER’s offices the fading original of a circular letter dated Calcutta,December 19th, 1833 which bears the signatures of the twenty-five business firms who in the following year,along with others, became the founding members of the CALCUTTA CHAMBER of COMMERCE. Of major significance in the present story, this petition, of which a facsimile is reproduced as the centre-piece to this book, is the only original document relating to the genesis of the chamber which has survived the passing of the years and the destructive effects of the climate of Bengal.There is, in fact, no absolutely indisputable proof that
the parent body was brought into being as the CALCUTTA CHAMBER, and for corroborative evidence reliance must be placed on the speech of the late Sir
Montagu Turner at the fiftieth anniversary dinner of the BENGAL CHAMEBR held at the Town Hall, Calcutta,on February 12th, 1903, at which that competent historian the late Lord Curzon, then Viceroy and
Governor-General of India, was the chief guest. Though it is clear that the CHAMBER records of 1903 were no
more complete in regard to the period 1834-1853 than they are today, we are entitled to presume that Sir Montagu Turner, president of the Chamber in its golden jubilee year, had access to what we may call the testimony of the times. There would, indeed, be people living
in Calcutta at the turn of the century who would be able to remember the existence of the CALCUTTA CHAMBER of COMMERCE in its later years; and it is
known that its tenancy of premises belonging to the Bengal Bonded Warehouse was taken over by the BENGAL CHAMBER in 1853. Some scattered notes were compiled in the mid-nineteen thirties which rather seek to imply that the BENGAL CHAMBER enjoyed a continuous existence from 1834, but there is no real warrant for
such a contention; on the contrary, the proceedings of the golden jubilee celebration of 1903 make it clear
that whilst there may never have been an actual break,involving a period in which there was no chamber of commerce at all, the BENGAL CHAMBER became the heir and successor to the CALCUTTA CHAMBER which in the last years of its career had perhaps merely served and
that no more than nominally—to keep alive the right of association for the purposes and objects which by then had become the accepted functions of a chamber of commerce.

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