The Insignia
The famous winged horse is something of a mystery. On August 8th 1903 it was decided to use the insignia designed and submitted by Badman and Co. that of a "Winged Horse" centered on a dark blue background flag.

The Royal Family of Chiang Mai did, on occasions, use the insignia on their cars, but they probably took it from the club rather than the other way around.

The term Gymkhana is probably a fictitious word based on gend-khana (ball house) the usual Hindi word for an English racquet court.
From about 1861 this name was commonly used for the British sports clubs. which sprang up throughout Asia-Bombay, Rangoon, Bangkok, Chiang Mai etc.
In recent years "Gymkhana" has become a pony meet where various games and jumping took place. Riding and in particular, polo and racing were of course a very important part of the early Gymkhana clubs as is proved by the records of the minute books of the Chiengmai Gymkhana Club.

One of the more fasinating games played at the time was Bumblepuppy. It would appear that it could refer to a not-so-scientific game of whist, a nine-ball game, shove-penny type game or even hitting a ball tied to a piece of string! It probably involved all of these and more, certainly seemed to be a game where inteligence wasn't needed in great supply.
The Rain Tree
The grand old Raintree stands magnificent against the backdrop of the old club house and is the the best known icon of the Club and surrounding area. A member of the legume family and highly valued by local farmers for it's shade and nutrious pods, the Gymkhana Raintree is estimated to be over 150 years old. So huge now it needs strong supports for some of its more lengthy branches.
The Old Club layout


The Beginning

"The object of the Club shall be the encouragement of sport in Northern Siam. For the Club to achieve this goal it should be managed so as to meet the needs of the members and their guests from time to time, and be run as a profitable enterprise where all profits are circulated back into the Club for continual improvement."

19 August 1898

Founding Members

On 6 April 1898 a group of people were gathered together discussing the proposal of the purchase of a piece of land for the use of Chiang Mai residents with a view to sport of all kinds. A Mr.W.R.D. Beckett informed the meeting that he was negotiating with owners of the land near to the east bank of the Mae Ping known as "Ban Muang Khai Land".Following lengthy discussions and negotiations the land was finally purchased. A meeting was held to execute a Deed of Gift of the land to the club and to name it "Chieng Mai Gymkhana Club. The meeting was terminated on May 7 1898.

The Club was established by and for those foreigners, mainly British, working in the north of Thailand. By 1907 there were 91 full members, Patrons and 3 honorary members. Only very few of these members were resident in Chiang Mai and meetings were seldom attended by more than a dozen people.

"King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambai talked to W.A.R.Wood, British Consul-General to Chiang Mai, when Their Majesties made a social call to a foreign club of which Mr. Wood was manager on 29th January 1926."

"That the Club should have survived to celebrate over 100 years is a tribute to the loyalty and determination of the membership as a whole and the guidance of the dedicated committee of five, elected annually, on which has fallen the delicate task of guiding the Club around the many financial and social obstacles including rifts and factions within the membership....We now look forward to our second hundred years knowing that many problems will arise as they have in the past, but knowing too that with a hundred years' experience behind us we have the wisdom and will to overcome them all, so that this historic club - the oldest in Thailand - will be passed on intact to our children."

Milestone Events

Notable Dates

The land known as "Ban Muang Kai Land" was sold on the 21st May 1898.

A Deed of Gift making over the said land to the purchasers was drawn up.

The first meeting of "The Chiengmai Gymkhana Club" was held on 19th August 1898, during which the first committee was elected

September 5th 1898 - The first committee meeting of the Chiengmai Gymkhana Cub.

Rules and Byelaws
The Club Rules and Byelaws were revised and issued on the following dates: 1898 1923 1933 1949 1956 (missing) 1992 2013 (pending)
First Committee
The 1st committee was elected on 19th August 1898:






The Founding Members

Prior to the AGM in 1973 the Chairman conducted a ceremony at which the marble tablet (above) commemorating the 14 founder members of the club was unveiled by H.S.H. Prince Rawiphan Phairoj.

Louis T. Leonowens

Probably the most notable of the founding members was Louis T. Leonowens the son of Anna, of "Anna and the King" book and the musical "The King and I".

He served in the impressively named Royal Siamese Cavalry, serving alongside Captain Jensen in Lampang during the Shan rebellion in 1902. He was also a relative of the actor Boris Karloff, of Frankenstein fame.

Centenary Book
To celerbrate the centenary of the Club a commemorative book was published (above) compiled by the long-time resident and history buff, John Shaw MBE. John was Honorary British Consul in Chiang Mai from 1990 to 1995. He served on the Committee as Secretary and Treasurer.