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Friday, September 30, 2011



SELECT BOOK SHOP on Brigade Road, has organized a Book Reading Session by Bridget White on her book “Kolar Gold Fields – Down Memory Lane – Paeans to lost glory”, on Saturday 8th October 2011 at 5 PM

Bridget White-Kumar was born and brought up in Kolar Gold Fields, a small mining town in the erstwhile Mysore State which was famous for its Colonial ambiance. This book is a small attempt on her part to record for posterity, the history and way of life of the old Kolar Gold Fields.

“Kolar Gold Fields – Down Memory Lane - Paeans to lost glory”,  undertakes a nostalgic journey of almost 150 years, right from the days of the origins of the Kolar Gold Mines, its historical and mythological connections, the growth of the mines under the British Company of John Taylor and Sons till the ultimate closure of the once prosperous Kolar Gold Mining Company in 2003. Thus ending a golden chapter in History, which now lies buried in the annals of time. It then moves on to give the reader a brief insight into the lives of the Anglo-Indian Community in the early days of KGF and finally focuses on the author’s own childhood memories of growing up as a young Anglo-Indian child in KGF in the 1950s and 60s.

The book succeeds in capturing and preserving for posterity the nuances and ethos of a bygone era in that once glorious vibrant place called Kolar Gold Fields, and at the same time keeps it alive in the hearts of its erstwhile inhabitants, which still beats for it.

The book is priced at Rs. 260.00 per copy

Venue:   The Select Book Store
               71, Brigade Road Cross
               Bangalore 56001
               (Landmarks: Near Prabhu Digitals and Victory Dry Cleaners)
Time:     5.00 PM

Contact:  25580770 / 30521906

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

‘New Imperial Bakery and Victory Confectionery Stores’ in Champion Reefs.

This is a picture of the ‘New Imperial Bakery and Victory Confectionery Stores’ in Champion Reefs which is situated just opposite the Company Hospital. This Store in the good old days, was any child’s delight with huge glass bottles filled with different kinds of sweets, biscuits, toffees, stick jaws, buns etc. The Egg Sweets, ‘Wording sweets’, lollipops, Jujips, Almond Sweets, etc were all so delicious and enticing. Since it was just opposite the hospital, no hospital visit was complete without visiting this delightful place. Parents often had to bribe their kids to take their medicines with promises of goodies from the New Imperial Bakery. Besides these exciting  sweets in bottles, the trays of Mutton and Vegetable Puffs, Buns, biscuits, cookies and other savouries was a gourmet's delight.

Our daily bread was also ‘home delivered’ every day at 4 o’clock in the evening. The ‘Bread Man’ brought the freshly baked loaves in a large Wooden Box tied on the carrier of his bicycle. This bread was delivered from this ‘New Imperial Bakery and Victory Confectionery Stores’ for more than 35 years!! The loaves of bread were always still hot from the oven when he brought them. These loaves were sold whole not sliced and just before dinner every night my mum would slice the loaf and leave it on the table for us. Like the mincing machine, each Anglo-Indian family had their own bread board and bread knife to slice the bread.

The payment for the bread that was delivered every day was done on a monthly basis. Every house had their own page in the ‘Bread Man’s’ long  account book, and entries would be made as to the number of loaves of bread and buns bought by them against the date. During the first week of the succeeding month, the representative of the ‘New Imperial Bakery and Stores’ would make the rounds for receiving payment of the bread delivered during the month.

The bakery also made special Hot Cross Buns filled with plums for Good Friday and our Baker would deliver them along with the bread on Maundy Thursday. We’d have to place an order as to the number of buns required about 10 days in advance. Since Good Friday was the day of fasting and abstinence we normally ate these Hot Cross buns for breakfast and dinner with a little butter.

Monday, September 5, 2011

ELECTRIFICATION OF THE KGF MINES - KGF was the first Mining Industry in Asia to get Electricity in 1902


From the inception of the mines in 1880 until the year 1902 all the machinery in the Kolar Gold Mines were worked by steam power. Feeling the need for captive electric power, The John Taylor and Sons Company prevailed upon the British Government in Mysore to provide Electric power to the Company to meet its huge need for electricity, for running the machines and various other needs. The Cauvery Power Scheme was thus initiated in 1900 by the Mysore Government, under K Seshadri Iyer, the then Diwan of Mysore. The credit however, for the Cauvery Falls Power Works was attributed to Captain Lotbiniere R.E., the then Deputy Chief Engineer of the Mysore Government.

The initiating of the Cauvery Power Scheme has also been recorded in The Karnataka State Gazette, Mandya District as follows:  ‘The Mysore Government decided to investigate the practicality of generating power at Shivanasamudram Falls Site and enlisted the services of Colonel Campbell, the Chief Engineer at Madras for the same with the cooperation of the Madras Government. The Chief Engineer took a very favourable view of the potential of the project. In June 1899, the Deputy Chief Engineer of Mysore, after studying the details of the power installation at the Niagara Falls (in North America), was convinced of the idea of working the machinery at the Kolar Gold Fields with the electricity generated by the Cauvery falls.
The scheme received the hearty support of Seshadri Iyer and Colonel Campbell.  M/S John Taylor & Sons of London, who had the general control on KGF also supported the scheme. The government decided to utilise the head of the falls for hydro-electric power and its transmission for the service of industrial undertaking in the state of Mysore, inclusive of KGF, in 1899 “.
The first major Hydro Electric Generating Station for commercial operations was thus commissioned in 1889 at Shivasamudram, near Mysore, The longest transmission line, at the highest voltage in the world, was constructed exclusively to meet the power needs of mining operations at Kolar Gold Fields.

The work on the Cauvery Power Works Station at Shivasamudram was completed by the middle of 1902. The 30th of June 1902, was a Red Letter Day in the history of Mysore State and the Kolar Gold Mines. It was on this day, 4000 H.P. of Electric Energy was transmitted from the Cauvery Falls Power Station at Shivasumudram through the longest transmission line to Kolar Gold Fields for the first time. Thus the erstwhile Mysore State, became the first State in India, to establish such a huge Hydro-Electric Plant.

It has been further recorded in the Karnataka Gazetteer that:  quote “The first Hydro-electric power station in Asia was set up when the British Resident General Donald Robertson in Mysore launched the 700 KW Hydroelectric Station which transmitted power to KGF on 30th June 1902”.  Unquote.

KGF was thus supplied with electric power from Shivasamudram in 1902. It was the first time in Asia that electricity was generated and supplied, through a transmission line that was more than 80 miles long. It was the longest transmission line in the world at that time - the second longest was at the Niagara Falls which was only 13 miles long!