Aliyeh Rizvi takes us back in time to tell us more about the Higginbotham Store in Bangalore.
In 1898, the building witnessed the great plague that decimated the population of Bangalore and resulted in new extensions like Basavanagudi being planned on the city periphery. Seven years later, a fully recovered Cantonment saw a sign come up over it in 1905.
It said `Messrs Higginbotham &Co.’ Book lovers flocked to it and browsed eagerly through shelves piled high with popular periodicals and writings on philosophy, science and literature. They had heard much about this famous bookstore in Madras. It had been listed as a `premier bookshop’ in a guide book called `Presidencies of Madras and Bombay’ by John Murray in 1859 and had also been the sole supplier of books to the Prince of Wales upon his visit to India in 1875.
The Victorian South Parade then became busy MG Road, but for old time Bengalureans, visits to Higginbotham Ltd continued to be a city tradition.
Like its namesake in Chennai, Higginbotham Ltd, Bengaluru retains its stately character and effortlessly straddles the past and the present. The oldest bookstore chain in India now sits opposite the modern Bengaluru Metro station but also stocks the speeches of Churchill.