Over the last one year or so, I have been writing a monthly column titled "OLD MADRAS ROAD" for Auditor, the in house magazine of the Society of Auditors of which I am a member. Every issue features advertisements of two old Madras business establishments, with around 125 to 150 words on each business.
The "landmark" event of having featured the 25th and 26th businesses (to be published next month) and Sriram sir's persistence have been instrumental in putting these up on the blog.
My thanks to Somerset Playne, my mentor Mr.V.Sriram and Mr.S.Muthiah, all of whom have provided the column with many pieces of information on these businesses, and of course to Mr.P.S.Prabhakar, Editor of Auditor and the entire team for hosting it every month.
T.R.Tawker and Sons were leading diamond merchants of the Madras Presidency in the late 19th and early 20th century. They belonged to the Gujarati community, with their presence in South India dating back to the mid 1600s.
The business was a flourishing one with customers that included Zamindars, royalty and leading musicians. The Official Catalogue of the Exhibition held in connection with the Coronation Durbar in Delhi in 1903 valued their collection displayed on the occasion at Rs.60 Lakhs. Their showroom, designed by the legendary Henry Irwin was next to where the V.G.P building today stands on Mount Road. The New College came up on the site of their residence, “Tawkers Gardens”.
The business ran into financial problems following a payment that did not materialise for an expensive robe studded with diamonds they had made for the VIth Nizam of Hyderabad. It was a huge blow they never really recovered from. They were declared insolvent in January 1925.