Saturday, 1 June 2013

An Engineer who invented a dog killing machine

This is one of the oldest localities and also among the first of the planned residential areas of Bangalore. It was built to showcase the rehabilitation of the poor and underprivileged classes.
The authorities, more than a century ago, had decided to resettle leather and tannery workers (Chuckliars) who had their houses near the present Cantonment Railway Station.
These houses were poorly built and had poor sanitation.  The houses were more of thatched houses and there was no drainage and drinking water facilities. They resembled more of slums and when the plague epidemic ravaged Bangalore in 1898, the authorities decided to resettle the labourers in new houses.
However, the rebuilding and resettlement process was taken up only in 1923. The locality was named after the British Resident of Bangalore and in 1937 it was renamed after the man who redesigned the entire underground drainage system of Blackpully or Shivajinagar, the sanitary works in Austin Town and the locality.
This man was also responsible for inventing an electrical device for painlessly killing stray dogs. It was called the Dog Electrocute and from November 1925, it was used rather extensively in the Civil and military Station (Cantonment). This was the first time in India that such a device was used anywhere in India.
He was also one of the charter members of Rotary Club of Bangalore chartered or founded on October 27, 1934.
This man was none other than W.H. Murphy, who worked as an Executive Engineer of the Civil and Military Station. Mr. Murphy served in this post for 25 years and it is after him that the locality was named as Murphy Town.
Before its renaming, Murphy Town was known as Knoxpet in honour of the British Resident of Mysore, Lt. Col. Stuart George Knox who came from Baroda where he had been Resident. He had earlier officiated as Resident at Mysore and Chief
Commissioner of Coorg. Colonel Knox occupied the position for one full year from November 1, 1921 to October 31, 1922 and during the time, was known as a capable administrator.
Knoxpet then housed a large number of Tamil labourers, including potters, leather workers had settled in Knoxpet adjoining Cantonment Railway Station from 1865.
The health authorities recommended Knoxpet for complete evacuation after the plague but this came into effect only 25 years later. Municipal and British records show that 108 double and 310 single houses were built in the area, using Mangalore tiles, cement and bricks. Several schools, temples, churches, a market and a crèche also came up in the vicinity.
The houses were for the first time grouped around large open quadrangles planted with trees and the open grounds provided place for social and community events.
Today, we can still see some of these houses but Murphy Town has now been renamed as Hoysala Nagar after one of the great Kingdoms that ruled Karnataka. 
The limits of Murphy Town today is north of Ulsoor and Murphy Town and the Murphy Road form part of the Old Madras Road. By the way, Murphy Town and Austin Town have provided our country with some of the best footballers who went on to earn international recognition.
Murphy is also credited with overseeing the construction of several other buildings in Bangalore including the Russell Market which is named after T. B. Russell, who served as the municipal commissioner of Bangalore.
He also designed and helped built the Friends In Need Society Bangalore.The Home of the Society is located on Colonel Hill Road and it comprises two main buildings, one known as the Cobb Home for the Aged and the other The Girdlestone Nursing Home. These buildings are named after H. V. Cobb and C. E. R. Girdlestone, British Residents of Mysore. The buildings were inaugurated by the British Resident, W. P. Barton.

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