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Friday, June 1, 2012

CRESWELLS - ONE OF THE FIRST DEPARTMENT STORES IN KGF WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1935.

THE ENGLISH WARE HOUSE, SPENCERS AND CRESWELLS
(An excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE )

Due to the British and Anglo-Indian population in KGF, a lot of goods were imported from England and sold through The English Ware House, Creswells, Spencers Stores, etc,  who had outlets in KGF.

These three stores were situated within a half a kilometer radius in Champion Reefs. The largest of the three stores was the English Ware House situated just opposite Our Lady of Victories Church. The elegant  Spencer’s Store was situated just opposite the Mining Hospital and Creswells was situated a little further down the road leading to Edgar’s Shaft in Marikuppam. 

Every possible ingredient or product was available in these outlets, so that the British and Anglo-Indians didn’t miss their favourite canned food or soups. Kraft Cheese, Dutch Ball cheese, Tuna Fish, Polson’s Butter, Colman’s Mustard, Sardines, Luncheon Meat, Corned Beef, baked beans, Heinz Sauces, ‘Cup-a-Soup’ sweets, chocolates, cookies, etc, were some of the products that were in constant demand. They also stocked spaghetti, macaroni, Olives, pasta sauce, etc to cater to the small Italian Community in KGF besides a wide range of dried fruits, nuts and common Indian condiments.

Creswells was established in 1935 by Mr. William A Paul who named the store after his son Creswell. He was the first and only Anglo-Indian entrepreneur of KGF at the time. He was the only Indian to be granted a ‘Sterling Agreement’ by the erstwhile John Taylor and Sons Company to carry on trade in KGF. It was actually the very first Department Store in KGF.

Creswells also sold perfumes, cosmetics, gift items and the very latest in fashions for both men and women and was famous for importing the latest dresses and gowns from the U K and France. Most of the Anglo-Indian ladies in KGF, bought their Wedding Gowns, Dance dresses and Ball gowns from Creswells. These dresses and gowns always came with silk stockings, silk gloves and a corsage to match.

The children’s section had a vast array of clothes, toys, games and books. It also had an exclusive Baby Section catering to all the requirements of a ‘New Born’ including a wide array of Prams and Strollers.

The departure of the British in 1956 was the death knell for these stores. Creswells wound up in 1959 and The English Ware House and Spencers closed their operations in KGF soon after.
Spencers and The English Ware House later opened their second stores in Oorgaum just opposite the Gymkhana Grounds. These 2 buildings were razed to the ground and The Philadelphia Church was built in the same place.

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