London based Patrick Taylor is the great grandson of Mr. John Taylor, the founder of ‘The John Taylor and Sons Company’, the British Mining firm which started the systematic mining of gold in the KGF area and ran the gold mines in KGF for 72 years from 1884. He is the son of Arthur Taylor, a Partner and the last General Manager of the KGF Mines when the Mines were handed over to the government of India in 1956. The Mining Firm of John Taylor and Sons has since been disbanded and is not in existence any more. Treading away from the family trade of mining, Patrick studied to be a Chartered Accountant and worked as one for several years before moving to Radio and Publishing. He now owns an adventure travel and tourism company as well.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive this email from Mr. Patrick Taylor from the UK, in October 2011.
Patrick was quite nostalgic when we visited the St Joseph’s Convent. The Nuns were so thrilled to have him visit them. They said the ‘son of the house has returned to visit them’. Incidentally, the Convent was earlier the residence of Mr. Arthur Taylor, the General of the John Taylor and Company and Patrick’s father. His old home as Patrick fondly remembers it, is still in the same beautiful condition today and lovingly maintained by the Sisters of St Joseph of Tarbes. The Nuns were kind enough to give him a tour of the entire house and Patrick told them a lot of stories connected with this house.
Many will recall that St Joseph’s Convent School was earlier functioning in the premises of St Mary’s Church compound (now Our Lady of Victories Church) in Champion Reefs. However, due to the massive Rock Burst of Earth Quake proportions in 1952, the St Mary’s Church, the Presbytery, the St. Joseph’s Convent and the School Buildings all collapsed to the ground. All the buildings were completely destroyed. Mr. Morgan, The Chief Medical Officer of the Company Hospital, rushed to help the Sisters he arranged for their indefinite stay at the Bungalow of the General Manager of the Mines, Mr. Arthur Taylor in Champion Reefs, who was away in England on a holiday at the time. The nuns were given half of the main house as their temporary abode. Even though this bungalow was huge and quite spacious it was insufficient to accommodate the Convent and the school with so many students. So while half of the main house, the garage and servants quarters were made use of for the Convent, the classes were held under the trees and in temporary sheds.
Patrick was pained to see the visible signs of deterioration in this once prestigious Club like the rest of KGF. The mounted Antlers and Horns still adorn the foyer of the club, but the beautiful garden surrounding the Club has disappeared. The grand Piano in the erstwhile ‘Ladies Bar’ now lies unused and in need of repairs. The brass door knobs and handles no longer shine and the beautiful crockery and cutlery with the Club’s monogram specially brought from Sheffield in the UK all those years ago have all disappeared and now replaced with ordinary ones. The Bar is also not so well stocked now and soft drinks are served in a bottle with a drinking straw and paper napkins. The snacks and short eats that the club was so famous for in the old days have been replaced with small packets of store bought nuts and fries.
“My father was proud of what the family had done here in India. KGF was the first Town in India to get electricity almost 110 years ago and was also said to have been one of the first towns to get cemented roads. While I firmly believe that every country should run itself, on coming back here, I do feel a certain amount of sadness on seeing this town fading away,” said Patrick while we drove past the Old Colonial Bungalows that are almost in ruins and the Mineshafts that are now locked and closed to the public. That era is a beautiful blur in his mind.
Soon it was time to leave KGF as the Taylor’s had to catch the early morning flight back to the United Kingdom. With heavy hearts they bid goodbye to KGF and promised to visit again sometime. “There is so much more to see, which means I have to come back soon,” Patrick said before leaving.
I was immensely pleased that their visit to KGF went off well and all the arrangements made by me for their visit were appreciated by them.