March 30, 2016

A Brief Glimpse of British Colonial Yercaud

A colonial outpost of the British in India, Yercaud was ‘discovered’ in 1820 by David Cockburn, (M D Cockburn) the Scottish Collector of Salem District between 1820 to 1829.He is remembered as the Father of Yercaud as he initiated the development of these hills. In 1820 he visited Yercaud and introduced the cultivation of Arabica coffee procured from Africa along with fruit trees like pears and apples.

Plantation life first started in Yercaud before it was taken up in the Nilgiris.


A chronological series of remarkable events in Yercaud in the British era.

1820 – David Cockburn, the Scottish collector of Salem known as the Father of Yercaud introduced coffee, pears and apples.

1827 – First survey of the Shervaroyan hills was completed.

1836 – Mr.G.F. Fisher, a German purchased the Salem Zamin. He was the first and only Zamindar in Madras Presidency. The area of his zamin was 1, 25, 000 acres.

1866 – David Arbuthnot, collector of Salem granted land for coffee cultivation to a large number of Englishmen.

1872 – Ghat road (from Salem) work was started.

1903 – Ghat road (from Salem) work was completed.

1917 – Montfort school was established.

1918 – First motorcycle to reach the Shevaroys. It was owned by Fr. Capell.

1920 – Ghat road became motorable and the first (steam engine) bus service was operated by NS.

1925 – The first commercial transportation was the Sydney Dyer Lorry Service introduced in 1925. The fare was Rs. 6 per adult uphill, Rs. 5 downhill and Rs. 3 for children.

1926 – The first gramophone and 35 mm hand driven magneto projector to reach Yercaud.

1928 – The first wireless radio imported by Bro.Octavian on December 17th 1928

1928 – The first wind and aero pump was installed in Montfort school.Similar wind driven pumps also worked at the Ornamental Lake and Emerald Lake.

1930 – Electricity became available after the completion of the Stanley Reservoir at Mettur in 1929.The first electricity connection in Yercaud was subscribed by the Montfort school.

1930 – A cinema hall called the White and Green Palace started functioning behind Western Stores

1931 – The first motor car in Yercaud was owned by Mr. C.D.Rile and reportedly burnt down by angry locals at Grassy Banks Bungalow, Yercaud.

The second car was owned by Mr. Medra and the third by Mr. Sydney Dyer.

The photos show the periphery map of the Shevaroys and a map of Yercaud. They can be seen outside the Anna Park near the Big Lake.



Bougainvilla  covered much of these tall trees and shone in the evening sun.I could’nt resist taking these pictures.Perhaps they would have looked different without the sun on them.Hope you like them.

Towering Grandeur