Indian Coffee House
The India Coffee House chain was started by the Coffee Cess Committee in 1936, when the first outlet was opened in Bombay. In the course of the 1940s there were nearly 50 Coffee Houses all over British India. Due to a change in the policy in the mid 1950s, the Board decided to close down the Coffee Houses. Encouraged by the communist leader A. K. Gopalan(AKG), the workers of the Coffee Board began a movement and compelled the Coffee Board to agree to handover the outlets to the workers who then formed Indian Coffee Workers' Co-operatives and renamed the network as Indian Coffee House. The first Indian Coffee Workers' Co-Operative Society was founded in Bangalore on 19 August 1957. The first Indian Coffee House was opened in New Delhi on 27 October 1957. Gradually, the Indian Coffee House chain expanded across the country, with branches in Pondicherry, Thrissur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Jabalpur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Tellicherry and Pune by the end of 1958. In Kerala there are two societies (Malabar and Travencore-Cochin area) formed. All India Coffee Workers’ Co- operative Societies Federation - a federation of Indian Coffee Workers’ Co-operative Societies- in 1960 December 17 at Delhi. Later Bellary and Madras (Chennai) Societies were separated from their mother societies.
Kerala has the largest number of Indian Coffee Houses, approximately 51. Advocate T. K. Krishnan, a Communist Leader of Thrissur and N. S. Parameswaran Pillai, the State Secretary of the India Coffee Board Labour Union and a thrown-out employee of ICH were the founders of ICHs in Kerala. The first Indian Coffee House of Kerala was started in Thrissur in 1958. It was also the fourth ICH in the country. It was inaugurated by A. K. Gopalan on 8 March 1958.
There is also an alternative history book about the ICH movement, in Malayalam - Coffee Housinte Katha or History of Coffee House by N. S. Parameswaran Pillai under the pen name, Nadakkal Parameswaran Pillai (Published by Current Books, Thrissur). This is the only published written history of ICH movement in any language. The book won the Abudhabi Shakthi Award as the best autobiography in 2007.
Thrissur Society (Travancore-Cochin area)
First coffee house was registered in Thrissur on 10 February 1958. The first Indian Coffee House opened at Thrissur on 8 March 1958. It was also the fourth in the country. The Coffee House was inaugurated by A.K.G. Thrissur society’s jurisdiction is from Thrissur to Thiruvananthapuram. The society is established on 1958 and the founder President was T.K. Krishnan, and secretary was N.S. Parameswaran Pillai. 50 Branches are running from Thrissur to Thiruvananthapuram under the control of India Coffee Board Worker's Co-operative Society Ltd. No.4227, Thrissur. The Society registered with District Industries Centre, Thrissur.
Kannur Society (Malabar area)
The second one registered at Palakkad in 2 nd July 1958 under the Chairmanship of Adv.A.V.K.Nair under Madrass Co operative Society Act. In the first Director Board includes Sri.T.P.Raghavan Secretary, Sri.N.S.Parameswaran Pillai, Sri.T.K.Krishnan.MLA, Sri.Manikkan Nair, Sri.M.Kelu, Sri.N.Kumaran Etc.The first Indian Coffee House started 7 th August 1958 in Thalasserry. In the time of formation of this Malabar Society there are 11 Employees and 16 Members.After amendment of bye-law the registered office transferred Palakkad to Thalasserry and then at Kannur. Kerala Co operative Societies Act of 1969, The Malabar Society comes under the The Direct Control of Registrar of Co operative Societies, Thiruvananthapuram. After all This Society is called as “Indian Coffee Workers’ Co operative Society Ltd.No.4317,Kannur”. Total Turnover in 2008-2009 is Rs. 183,897,040.60, NetProfit of.Rs. 250,625.48 And have 18 outlets (Branches) operating in all major towns from Kasaragod to Palakkad .
There are 13 co-operative societies in the country to run the coffee houses. These societies are governed by managing committees elected from the employees. There is also a federation of the co-operative societies as the national umbrella organisation to lead these societies.".
The Indian Coffee House has several branches in Kolkata, including the College Street branch, Central Avenue branch, Medical College Kolkata branch and Jadavpur branch. These are favourite hang-out places among the students and youth, although one can see several old-timers frequenting the coffee houses on a regular basis.
Coffee House at College Street
The most famous Coffee House branch in Kolkata is the one at the College Street, also known as the "Coffee House at College Street". It is opposite the Presidency College, Kolkata and has been a long-time a regular hang out for students (and ex-students) of the Presidency College, University of Calcutta, and other institutions in College Street.
The history of the Coffee House at College Street can be traced to Albert Hall, which was founded in April 1876. Later, the Coffee Board decided to start a coffee joint from the Albert Hall in 1942. Notable citizens, including Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose, were frequent visitors to the place. In 1947, the Central Government changed the name of the place to "Coffee House". The place became a meeting place for poets, artistes, literati and people from the world of art and culture. In 1958, the management decided to shut down the Coffee House, but it was re-opened the same year, after professors of Presidency College and Calcutta University rushed off a special petition to the government to save the heritage place.
The prestige of the Coffee House increased with regular visitors such as Satyajit Ray, Manna Dey, Amartya Sen, Mrinal Sen and Aparna Sen The Coffee House is of historical significance for being the rendezvous of innumerable versatile people, from its inception to date. Scholars, editors, artists and writers like Ritwik Ghatak, Narayan Gangopadhyay, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Sanjeev Chattopadhyay, Samaresh Majumdar, Subhas Mukhopadhyay and Shakti Chattopadhyay have been just a few among the patrons of the restaurant. In the early 1960s the coffee house became the intellectual battleground of the famous Hungry generation literary and cultural movement; the iconic poets Malay Roy Choudhury, Samir Roychoudhury brother duo who pioneered the movement were arrested and prosecuted. Several literary magazines owe their origin to the inspiration from the adda sessions at this coffee house. Though popularly known as College Street Coffee house, this branch is actually on Bankim Chatterjee Street. The coffee house is famous for its adda sessions, and as the breeding place of several political and cultural personalities and movements. Many people come here just for the sake of adda and just being a part of the long talking sessions. Several talented and illustrious persons from different streams have been thronging this renowned adda for a long time. In 2006, a huge financial crunch kept the co-operative society from undertaking renovation of the coffee house. Though a few companies such as Asian Paints approached the society with offers to renovate the restaurant, the offers were refused due to clash of norms and conditions.
The Indian Coffee House branch in Sector 17 of Chandigarh was opened in 1964 and remained popular among professionals, journalists, doctors, bureaucrats, lawyers and senior officials. The branch originally operated in Sector 22, and was shifted to Sector 17 in 1971. The Coffee House on the Punjab University campus is popular among students.
The Indian Coffee House branch in Dharamsala used to be a popular hang-out of intelligentsia in the city. It was set up, after the district administration approached the Indian Coffee Workers' Co-operative Society, Delhi in 1991. The society decided to close it down in 2006, after losses ran over 35 lakh rupees.
The 50-year-old Indian Coffee House at M. G. Road in Bangalore closed on 5 April 2009, after the Indian Coffee Workers' Cooperative Society Limited lost a legal battle with the owner of the building to continue in the premises. It has been reopened on Church Street, less than a hundred metres away.
List of locations
- "More than just coffee 'n snacks". Metro Plus Kochi. The Hindu. 23 September 2002. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
- Vibhor Mohan (27 September 2006). "Crisis in a coffee cup". The Tribune. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
- Indian coffee House
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- Funds crunch cripples College St Coffee House
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- Bangalore's Coffee House shuts after 50 charming years
Indian Coffee House in Kannur - Address & Phone Numbers
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