A rich legacy of history

A rich legacy of history

Strong Roots

One of the tall landmarks of Bangalore has deep roots in the history of the City. Barton Centre on M G Road got its name from the silver ornaments shop that is standing on the same plot.

Thomas Barton of England arrived in namma Bengaluru and set up his silver shop, Barton Centre, in 1861. As brand Barton observes its 150 years, Thomas Barton's great grandson, Andrew Orr, was here to commemorate the occasion. Andrew happens to be as mesmerised by Bangalore as his great grandfather was.

Andrew Orr recalls the many church services he attended with the Barton family at  St Andrew’s Church and St Mark’s Cathedral. “Some of my family members are buried in St Andrew’s Church. The two churches bring back so many memories. I still remember that Bangalore’s streets were deserted when I first came to the City,” Andrew tells Metrolife.

Andrew was just as interested in history as he was in medicine. He studied medicine but his keen interest in history inspired him to pursue the subject on the side. History fascinated him so much that he wrote a book titled, Sea dog Bamse on a dog which survived the Second World War.

The dog Bamse became the heroic mascot of the Free Norwegian Forces during the Second World War. It charts the life of Bamse from pre war days, through the five years of war until his death. “It was the dog’s intelligence that averted many a tragedy during the war. His acts of heroism included saving a young lieutenant commander, averting fights among his crewmates on the ship and escorting the crew back to the ship,” explains Andrew.

Andrew never misses a chance to come to India. He observes that the British might have been harsh with Indians but the Brits have great affection and respect for the people of India. “I know of a few people from Britain who have settled in India and run NGOs to serve the people here. There’s so much to learn from Indians,” Andrew points out.

Andrew observes that Indians are among the best craftsmen in the world. “The Bartons hired Indians for their precise sense of craftsmanship and keen eye for detail. The Maharajahs were among our prime buyers,” says Andrew.

Andrew went around in the City and he will travel to Mysore and a few other places before he flies back home, “There’s so much peace and tranquillity at the Lalbagh Gardens. The Tipu’s fort, though in a dilapidated state, has much history to it. I have been to the Mysore Palace several times and this will be my fourth visit. I will also go to Ooty before we head back,” says a visibly excited Andrew.

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