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During the 1920s and 1930s a growing number of British expatriates joined the Bahrain community as military and commercial advisers. Prominent among these newly arrived expatriates in Bahrain was Sir Charles Belgrave, who had arrived in 1926 as Personal Adviser to the Ruler of Bahrain, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

Sir Charles was instrumental in establishing what became the British Club. It is believed the club was established in 1935 and was initially a golf club, with Sir Charles Belgrave as the club’s first President. With the demise of the golf course, the club was subsequently renamed the Gymkhana Club and became known as the British Club in 1965.


Sir Charles Belgrave

A former member of the Club who joined in 1951 recalls that “the Club premises consisted of a stone building which is now the main bar, a Nissen hut and a primitive kitchen. Membership for British expatriates was a must as the Club was the only meeting point on the Island other than for those who worked for the oil company BAPCO”.

Times have certainly changed since then with the addition of a wide range of facilities, for both sports and recreation. From a handful of members in the early days – 45 in 1942, 213 in 1951- there are now more than 1500 members.