Saturday, December 12, 2009

History of Oakshott


There are 47 boys from Stds. IX and X and two Prefects from Std. XII. The cottage was built in 1922 and used as the School Hospital in 1923. It now caters to every comfort of the boys. There are fine new floors and mattresses. Each boy has an individual locker big enough to be a small cupboard.

The Prefects have their own suite of rooms with attached toilets. The day room is provided with tables and benches to allow for extra study during the exams and over weekends. Solar panels provide an unlimited supply of hot water in the special cubicles for baths.

Recreation is provided for with the Tennis Court and Basketball Court which adjoin the cottage and the Golden Jubilee football field is only a stone's throw away. Rs. 18,000/- donated by Mr. Eugene Fitzroy Oakshott and Mr Percy Oakshott, sons of Mr. Eugene Philip Oakshott (died 1911) in memory of their father who was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ms. Spencer & Co. Ltd for very many years.

Here is an email from Julia Oakshott in the UK.
As mentioned before- I contacted her son Michael who run Oakshott Fabrics thru their website.
Amazing what google and am email can uncover!!
Her daughter is doing research on family history and we can help each other.....

This connection has to be up there with writing to Revd Ash and Mr Hammick, chatting with Anna Yates and Doc Abraham. Wow- what a feeling.....
Question- is was Oakshott named after Eugene Phillip Oakshott with money from his 2 sons- Eugene and Percy or arranged by John Oakshott Robinson (after which Robinson Field was named- later changed to Golden Jubilee Field).

Let the research continue...I shaded some interesting parts. He original email is also on the bottom.

Thomas Abraham

From: Julia Oakshott

Sunday 10th May
Dear Thomas,
Thank you for your e.mail and with so much wonderful information too. It was all so interesting. Now to answer some of your points.

Mr Eugene Phillip Oakshott
He was with Spencer's 1871-1911
Chairman 1897-1911
From 1900 he was mainly in the London office...he died in 1911

His 2 sons were : Eugene Fitzroy (Roy), the elder......and Percy Gordon, the younger.
His elder sister's son was John Oakshott Robinson.

There seems to have been quite a lot of coming and going between the London office and Madras between these three. However it looks as though J. O. Robinson lived in Madras for a longer time. All this I have taken from a book ...'The Spencer Legend' by S. Muthiah...published in 1997 by Eastwest Books (Madras) Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 81-86852-08- 5

(In the book Mr Muthiah mentioned that my husband had been unable to help with some of the history. What he did not know at the time was that my husband was not well.)

Another quote from the John O. Robinson.... .
" He was also keenly interested in various charities including the St George's Homes. He had much to do with the founding of the latter and in addition to his own liberal donations was instrumental in having one of the cottages built."

So it looks as though it might have been J. Oakshott Robinson who donated the money for the cottage. I don't think we shall ever know if Roy and Percy were involved...unless there is something in the school history. However as the cottage was called 'Oakshott' perhaps they were!

While researching the family history my daughter has found out that E.P O had a middle son...Frank Seymour who was born in Kilpauk in 1874 and died in Coonoor 18th Aug 1879. We do not know the cause.

However I do remember that my husband, John was on the Committee for a while of St George's in Madras...but I cannot tell you just when that was...mid/late 60's ? We left Madras in 1974.

How interesting to hear about someone calling their own house Oakshott.... .he must have had a happy time at school.

We would be very interested in hearing about the celebrations at the school. But I don't think it will be possible for any of us to be with you all. If you would like to share this with your members we would be happy for you to do so.

With all best wishes,

Thomas Abraham wrote:

Dear Julia,
What an honor to get an email from a descendant of the Oakshott family! While researching the name I came upon your son's company and decided to try my luck and get a connection. I am so glad that you wrote.

I was in Ketti from 1971- 77 and was in Oakshott House from 1973-77.

Prior to last week, we had no idea how the name Oakshott came to our house. Sailendra Bhaskar researched the school archives and found the following:
While poring over old papers in the school office and came upon this 1914 Madras Mail article in a section of the newspaper called The Leader where reference is made to the plans for the creation of the school and the ongoing fund collection drive - in that article there is a reference to the fact that a certain Mr E.P. Oakshott, a businessman who along with his nephew (Mr. J O. Robinson, first Chairman of the Board of SGH) ran a very profitable business in Madras - Mr Oakshott's two sons decided to bequeath an unknown sum of money towards building a Cottage for boys to reside in in the school premises at Kodaikanal. So this is how Oakshott House gets its name.

Incidentally, Robinson's green the football pitch beyond Oakshott House is named after the First Chairman of the Board of Management. Please see an image of the newspaper article from which the above details have been garnered.

The school was started in Kodaikanal in 1914 and moved to Ketti in 1922. We will be celebrating 100 years soon. A few old students are researching the school history to enable us to have a better understanding of our past. We also plan to create a museum for old artifacts, books, and items that show the history of the school.

From your accounts- Michael's great great great grandfather was - Mr E.P. Oakshott and Percy Gordon Oakshott is possibly one of the 2 sons mentioned in our research who donated money to build Oakshott House.

One of old students from the 60's in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia- named his home Oakshott also.

I would like your permission to share your email with our group on the internet who number over 600. We also have a website- www.oldgeorgians. com where we have over 800 registered. Please do check out our website.
I have attached 3 photos of Oakshott and a document with the history of the school.

I hope that we can help each other in learning about the Oakshott family that so generously gave so that the Oakshott name would be remembered for ever.

Thomas Abraham
Oakshott - 1971-77

Julia Oakshott wrote:

Thursday 7th May.
Hello Thomas,

My son Michael, has passed on your e.mail to me.
Yes, we are the same family of Oakshott. We knew that there was a house named Oakshott at the fact we were all there for a Sport's Day sometime in the mid 60's and my three children found it very strange to hear everyone calling out, "Come on Oakshott" !

My husband John worked for Spencers in Madras from 1952-1974. It was the Company which his Great-grandfather had built up.
His Grandfather ...Percy Gordon Oakshott was also a Chairman, and it looks as though it must have been him who donated the money for the house going by your dates of the school starting in 1914. However we did not know that it had started in Kodai.

We did wonder how the naming of the house came about. If you have any information about this we would be very interested. Maybe you have a contact still at the school whom we could contact? Why we never looked into all this when we still lived in India I really do not know. It is only now that suddenly everyone seems to be delving into their family history.

About two months ago my daughter starting to research the family history.....something which she had planned to do for a long time. She had been asking me what I knew about the school connection.. you maybe able to provide the answer!

We returned to live in England in 1974. Unfortunately my husband died in 1998. About this time my elder son Michael left the company which he was with...namely 'Malabar'. They imported handloom furnishing fabric from Kerela. This had grown out of a company which my father started on his retiremant from Parry's in Madras for export handloom. He then set up on his own as 'Oakshott & Co Ltd.'. We now do furnishing fabric and also handloom fabric for quilting. Which you must have seen on our website.

I go in to help most days of the week....while Michael and his wife run the business.
When were you at school? We used to visit Ooty quite a lot and my two boys went to Lushington school before they returned to schools in England.

We shall look forward to hearing from you with any informantion you may have about when the house started etc.
All best wishes...... .Julia

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting. I don't think I am related, but good to see the family name in such a good light especially as I work with Asians.


    John Oakshott