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Sir William Cruikshank established the club as an equestrian sports facility in 1895 to "promote all manner of sports". It is spread over 100 acres (400,000 m2), with a clubhouse that is over 200 years old.
The extensive grounds of the club were originally an indigo plantation laid out in 1781 by the Johnson family, who were amongst the pioneers of the plantation industry in India.
Later the grounds were to become a royal park at the heart of the princely estate established by the exiled family of Tipu Sultan, the deposed ruler of Mysore and the house which the Johnsons had built as their home became the garden house of the new Mysore Estate.
In 1895, the entire property was acquired from the Mysore family by the Tollygunge Club Limited and the old Johnson home is today the club's clubhouse.
The club grounds boast an enviable collection of flowering trees and tropical plants, many of which have been brought from far afield as Australia and South America. These provide a natural sanctuary for a variety of exotic birds. Birds & Trees of Tolly, written by Kushal Mookherjee, explores these in greater detail.
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