Bangalore Electrical Supply
Designed by Koenigsberger, this is one of the most significant buildings in the history of Bangalore. Heres why.
The idea of harnessing the power of the Cauvery Falls at Shivasamudram came from Major A.C.J. de Lotbiniere. When Messrs Taylor and Sons proposed this scheme to power their mining operations in Kolar Gold Fields, the then Dewan, Seshadri Iyer, recognised the scheme potential and approved it. With characteristic speed and efficiency, the power station, transformer and transmission houses, supply channels, and other infrastructure were soon built, staff quarters were readied, and key personnel identified and recruited.
The British Resident, A. Williams, then escorted the chief guest to the substation nearby. While Harry Gibbs checked the settings and equipment, his assistant called up Shivasamudram with instructions and requirements. Then, when everything was finally in place, Hewett threw the switch.
Lo and behold, 104 lamps came on as if by magic, including one just outside the substation. The crowd outside clapped and cheered wildly. The applause grew even louder as additional circuits were switched on and in just a few minutes, 800 street lamps around the city blazed brightly.
Back at the tent, the Dewan thanked Hewett on behalf of the Maharajas government. The chief guest and the Resident then returned to the Residency. Of course, they returned to darkness. It was not until 1908 that street lights in the C and M Station were finally lit with electricity.
Some of the buildings in this story still stand. The B and C stations on M.G. Road and near Cantonment Railway Station are Bangalores, earliest substations. No trace now remains of the transformer house outside the Delhi Gate where Hewett memorably switched on the power. It was possibly located where the Karnataka Power Transmission Companys transformers now stand, a few hundred metres from the old fort.