For several months now we have been planning a project behind the scenes that we are now finally able to make public!
Almost by accident we stumbled across the fact that there was a large community of Cornish miners living and working at the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), Karnataka, India from 1890- 1940 and beyond. Very quickly it became clear that this fascinating story had been all but forgotten in conversations of the Cornish Diaspora and we felt very strongly that this was a story that needed to be told.
After the intial discovery we set to work reading and researching about the Kolar Gold Fields and the project began to take shape. The momentum of the project grew largely thanks to contacts made in India- Mrs Gayatri Chandrashekar, Mrs Bridget White Kumar, and Dr S. SriKumar all of whom have written fascinating books about the Kolar Gold Fields and who have all responded to our questions and initial ignorance with warmth, patience and a wealth of information.
So, what are we actually planning?? Well, all the research so far has been leading up to our project start date 1st February 2019. We will spend a year on the project and by the end of it we will have produced a CD of music, an accompanying booklet, a dedicated section on our website and a short film telling the story of the Cornish miners and their Indian counterparts who lived and worked at KGF.
Music was and is a huge part of life at the Kolar Gold Fields and our project will reflect that, with new compositions, traditional Cornish and Indian folk music, songs, hymns and carols we know to have been sung at KGF by Cornish miners, and, most importantly it will be a collaboration between us and musicians from the Kolar Gold Fields area. It is very important to us that we tell all sides of this story and represent the different cultures that coexisted at KGF.
We knew that for the project to work we would need funding, and were thrilled when both the Arts Council England and Cornwall Heritage Trust agreed to support us, we are incredibly grateful for their support.
From February we will have a dedicated project section on our website where as well as keeping up to date with our progress you will also be able to read individual stories of Cornish miners, find more general information about the Kolar Gold Fields, and specific resources such as a list of the Cornish miners who lived at KGF and the music we know to have been performed there. If you have any information you would like to share, if you had relatives who lived at the Kolar Gold Fields or would just like more information you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can’t wait to get started and share this project with you! x
*Photographs belong to Pauline Tamblyn Bick (Cornwall) who was born at KGF and who has shared with us the story of her father Roy Tamblyn who lived at KGF with his family. We are very grateful to the family for their support of this project and for sharing their story with us.