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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nostalgic Visit of Patrick and Heather Taylor to KGF on 9th November 2011 along with Bridget White-Kumar

I was pleasantly surprised about a month ago to receive this email from Mr. Patrick Taylor from the UK.

“Dear Bridget
My name is Patrick Taylor. I am in the process of reading your fascinating book on the KGF. My father, Arthur, a partner in the firm of John Taylor & Sons, was in charge of the mines during my early childhood, when I lived on the KGF for 7 years before returning to England for my education. Now 63 years old, I have never returned to India but my wife and I are coming to the KGF in November. I would be most interested to meet you if that would be possible. I have many happy memories of my early life in India and for me this trip will definitely be a trip down memory lane. It will be greatly enhanced if I can have the benefit of learning from your knowledge of the place that was the foundation of my life. Warm regards
Patrick Taylor

Patrick and his wife Heather were in Bangalore on the 8th November and the next day I accompanied them on a trip ‘Down Memory Lane to KGF’. We started our trip with a visit to the new exploration site of the Kolar Gold Company at Chickregunta near Kuppam.

We were accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson and Phillip Dingle. Phillip and Mr. Richards made our trip to the new exploration site truly memorable. It was a fascinating opportunity for us of looking into the future and seeing a new Gold Mining area taking shape. It was also a glimpse into the past, as to how the pioneers of our present day Kolar Gold Fields once explored and prospected for gold in a rocky barren area to what it finally evolved into. It was a pleasure meeting Raymond Cruze, Mr Gupta and all the Staff of  Kolar Gold Company. Sincere thanks to  Mr.and Mrs. Richard Johnson, Phillip Dingle and all the other staff of Kolar Gold Company for making our visit to the new exploration site a memorable one.

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 come to visit them. The nuns house at the Convent was earlier the residence of Mr Arthur Taylor, the General of the John Taylor and Company.

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. The school building was a simple structure with a tin roof. However, due to the massive Rock Burst of Earth Quake proportions in 1952, the St Mary’s Church, the presbytery, the Convent and the School Buildings all collapsed to the ground. Luckily, no one was injured and no lives were lost. But the buildings were completely destroyed.

Mr. Morgan, The Chief Medical Officer of the Company Hospital, rushed to help the Sisters and took them to the Hospital premises. He vacated one of the wards to accommodate them for the day. That evening 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.
When Mr. Arthur Taylor, returned to KGF from the UK he and his family shifted to another Bungalow near the Golf Course which now houses the Mining Offices. The   Bungalow and the adjacent land was thus sold to the St Joseph’s Convent Nuns. It became the nun’s living quarters and in course of time an extension was added to it to accommodate the Community. The school slowly expanded and huge class rooms were built around the nun’s house on the land given to the school by the Company.  The old house as Patrick remembered it still in the same beautiful condition today and lovingly maintained by the Sisters of St Joseph of Tarbes

We then went back to KGF and visited various places around Champion Reefs, such as Our Lady of Victories Church, the Champion Reefs Post Office, the Reservoir, the Champion Reefs Work Shops, the Imperial Bakery and the Hospital. Patrick was very sad to see the deplorable state of the Hospital where he recalled being treated for various childhood illnesses and also to have his hand sutured when he cut it while banging on a glass door.
He was also very dejected to see the state of Mr J K Lindsay's once beautiful bungalow. He remembered the beautiful spiral starcase in the house and playing on the lovely green lawns. This bungalow was later the J K Lindsay Memorial School. It was after the school was shifted back to the Parkinson Memorial premises in Oorgaum and the place was lying vacant, that vandals has destroyed the place and stollen everything of value including he doors and windows. The building is now the SC/ ST Association Office.

Patrick also visited the other Bungalow near the Golf Course where his family shifted after their return from their holiday in the UK in 1952. He was however quite sad to see it as it looked quite run down even though the Mining Offices are housed in it. Never the less this house also evoked a lot of Nostalgia and he recalled many happy incidents of his short stay there as he left for the UK in a couple of years. 

St Michael’s and All Angel’s Church was also on his list of places to visit and he was very happy to visit the Church which he remembered going to. He spent sometime in the Church speaking to the Church Representatives Mr. Nathan and Mr. Moses who presented him and me with a copy of the Centenary Souvenir.

 The KGF Club was the highlight of his visit. Mr. Kotnise, the President and Mr. Nathan, Secretary of the KGF Club welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Taylor and interacted with them. Patrick was immensely pleased to see the photographs of his Great grandfather John Taylor and all his other Taylor Ancestors displayed on the walls of the Conference Room of the Club.
He and his wife stood under the photograph of his Great grandfather John Taylor in the Main Bar and clicked many   photographs. 

He was pleased to meet Susai Raj, the old Bar man of the KGF Club. Susai Raj is now 88 years old but his memory was quite fresh when narrating various incidents connected with the Taylor Family. 

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.  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.


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