Lornie Family


Lornie Family History 

Koliabor School

J C Bara

Withering System for Tea


  July 4 2010

This is the story of the Lornie Family-
James Stoddart Lornie was Manager of Koliabor Tea Estate from the late 1920's until 1940
when he sadly died on UK leave.

Here is the family Photograph taken in 1931

The Front Row was
Cheddi, Fagoo,  Jim Lornie father,  son Ian,  Mother Gracie,  son Bill,  Biddy,  Ayah (standing towards rear)

Sitting Second Row
Dhobie's Servant, Cow-herd, Dhobie
, Cook, Night Chowkidar, Car Boy, Polisher, Sweeper,

Standing back Row:
Compound lady, Pani-Wallah, Pani-Wallah, Syce, Mali, Mali, Mali, Cow-Herd





August 8 2010

It has now come to light that James S. Lornie was instrumental in starting the
Koliabor school

Here is the story together with some photos of the School today plus the story of J.C Bara
who was the schools co founder

Joel Rapi said that the other day somebody told me there had been a foot-ball cup called
the Lornie Cup, held at Koliabor High School. The School was said to be the oldest school
in Koliabor, established in 1932 and lies just around 2 km from the bungalow. One passes
the school in order to get to the bungalolow but I had never gone inside the compound. 

Our manager, ms Sadik Begum, has been a student in this school and she proposed to Anna,
my girlfriend, and myself that we should take a walk and have a look at her old school. On the
way there we were accompanied by her old English teacher who later invited us to sit with her
colleagues and school principal in the teacher's room.  We were then informed that your J S
Lornie  had founded the school in 1932 and we were shown where he had set up an office
when the school had just been constructed. The " Lornie Shield" was then brought forward,
the first "Lornie Cup" having been played in 1938 and the last in 1997. Sadik remembered
how she had been an 11 year old school-girl in 1997, when the last cup was played. It was
Silghat playing against Misa. Apparently feelings were running high because half-way through
the match, hooligans from both villages started a fight which resulted in all of the teachers
having to flee the grounds and cancelling all classes that day!  The match was continued
sometime later and Misa winning the Cup.

This is the Shield presented by Mr Lornie for competition between the districy schools

This is the shield presented by Mr Lornie being held today by the
                             School Principal Mr Chetri

The School Principal, Mr Chetri, and the teachers we met were all very excited to learn
that I had received pictures of Mr Lornie. There had been an old picture of Mr Lornie in
the school but several years ago it had decayed beyond recognition. Unfortunately I had
not thought of bringing the pictures with me that day but I promised the principal I would
bring the pictures and show them before I leave for Sweden. 

Some of the children of today at the Koliabor Higher Secondary school --August 2010

The other side of the classroom with todays students --August 2010

We were then shown the library which still contains several books that once belonged to
your J S Lornie as "Lornie" is written in some of the volumes. I found it quite amazing that
these books have survived through all these years considering the dampness and attacks
from insects that is the main enemy to books and papers in this climate.  Some photos
of the books are shown at the bottom of this page

During our visit we also found out that J C Bara, who was the person who wrote the letter
sent to Mrs Lornie, had been the Head Clerk working under J S Lornie in the tea factory.
Together with Mr Lornie and a few other distinguished  citizens of that time, they had
founded the school in 1932.

We were told that J C Bara had been a bachelor and has no surviving relatives in the area

We were given a book in Assamese that was published in 1988 to celebrate the golden
jubilee of Koliabor Higher Secondary School and in the book there is an article giving a
brief outline of how the school came into being thanks to J S Lornie  and J C Bara

This is a copy of the photo of J C Bara which is shown in a special place
at the Koliabor Higher Secondary School


August 7 2010 

J C Bara

A lot of effort has gone into finding out who JC Bara was. He was the man who sent a fine
condolence letter to Mrs Gracie Lornie,the widow of J S Lornie who died in UK in 1940-the
letter was still proudly and affectionately kept by the Lornie family in Scotland

Joel Rapi the owner of the Koliabor Manor House Resort has recently spent a lot of time
and effort trying to trace the history of Koliabor and especially the Lornie family

The combination of the efforts of Mr Lornie and J C Bara created the Koliabor School
in 1932, which has gone from strength to strength over the years and will soon be celebrating
it's 80th anniversary. Sadik Begum the Manager of the Koliabor Manor House Resort has to
be thanked for all his help and the translating of the following article into The Late Jugesh Chandra Bara

 This article was published in the Memorial Book of Koliabor High School for the Golden
Jubilee in 1988   Ismriti Grantha

It was  written by the  late Kamala Kanta Bora who was Head Clerk at Koliabur
Tea Estate during David- Eyton Jones time as Manager


Jugesh Chandra Bara was a great contributor to the establishment of Koliabor High
School. He came from the village Bhutai gaon near Nagaon and belonged to the famous
Kiring Bara family.

JC Bara started studying at Cotton College, established in Gauhati in 1901 as the first
college in Assam. But before completing his studies, he decided to leave the college
and to join the struggle for Indian independence.  Both his parents expired when he was
very young, forcing himself and his elder brother to start working in tea estates.  JC Bara's
elder brother, late Ramesh Chandra Bara, was employed as kithmagar (head butler) at
Shalal Tea Estate (today known as Sakmuthi T.E.), while his younger brother, JC Bara,
found employment at Kuthari T.E. (today known as Jagdamka T.E.) and then later at
Mijari T.E. (now Kalidin T.E.) as head clerk. He then transferred to Seconee T.E. and
finally to Koliabur T.E, where he was employed in 1932.

At this time, the late J S Lornie was manager of Koliabur T.E. and supervisor of Koliabur
Seconee Tea Company. At the same time, he was the joint agent of the Silghat Shipping
Port, Selling Agent for the Silghat Petrol Pump, Call Agent of A.R.T. Company, Agent of
Lime Stone Quarry, as well as several other posts. At this time J S Lornie handed over
the responsibility for several of these posts to J C Bara who assisted him on his behalf. 
J C Bara was able to handle the duties very well and became an expert on this work.

J C Bara became known as a brave person, a patriot and as a social worker.  He protested
against injustices and superstitions prevailing at the time. He was a follower of the Baishnab
religion, believing in one God within the Hindu religion.  He was also an ardent supporter in
allowing widows to remarry. He fought hard in assisting one of his co-workers, a young man
by the name Bisha Bortakur, to marry a young Brahmin widow.

J C Bara was an easy-going person believing in living simple and high thinking. Although
he worked close along with the British, he remained traditionally Assamese in his life-style
and always wore the traditional dress khadi kurta and a Dhoti.

Now we shall turn our attention to how J C Bara and J S Lornie were involved in founding
Koliabor Higher and Secondary School.

Until 1930, there was no school available for the children of Silghat. Some of the senior
citizens of the community had been trying to establish a school in Koliabor but had been
unsuccessful  due to lack of proper leadership.

Late Baparam Hazarika, a social worker, along with late Mabub Ali and J C Bara, approached
J S Lornie in asking his help and guidance in order to establish a new school in Silghat.

Although very busy with a number of other obligations and responsibilities,  J S Lornie
accepted their request. But there were the problems of new land that had to be acquired
and also money needed to realize the project.  J S Lornie made it possible so that 42
bighas of land was made available from the tea company and transferring it to what would
become the new school.  He also contributed by donating rupees 1.500, of his own money
in order to start the school's new account.  He also went to see the Director of Education
of the time, late J A Small Sahab in Shillong, visiting him several times before the licence
for the new school was finally granted.  J S Lornie immediately started construction of the
new school not waiting for further help elsewhere. Iron rods and all materials necessary
were procured  from Calcutta and he was able to finish the construction on his own.

At first the nearby villages of Kuwaritol and Jakhlabanda protested against the construction
of the new school as they felt the school should be built in their own village. But thanks to
the diplomatic skills of J C Bara, the communities were made to agree and accept the
new site.  The Villagers of Koliabor built a mud house on either side of the newly constructed
school building, collecting timber from the nearby hills.  In those days if was very difficult
finding educated persons living in Koliabor who would be able to teach at the new school.
Therefore teachers had to be found from outside which also meant that another problem
had to be solved as they would then need accommodation near the school.  Late Praneshar
Sarma, the first head-master of the school, was able to stay in J C Bara's house as well as
the teachers, late Ramesh Chakrawarly and late Pawan Sarma. Only because of J S Lornie
and J C Bara, was the dream realized of providing a new school for the children of Koliabor. 
Now the school has developed into a Higher Secondary School with a science and arts
program. Without these two great men, the people of Silghat would have remained in the
back-waters. Therefore we today salute these two great men.

 Withering System for Tea

James S Lornie wished to improve the manufacturing of Tea and applied for a patent
on 25/11/1935 which was granted on 23/4/1937--It was a complete specification for a
withering system with only the front page shown below The total was seven pages and
if anyone is interested I feel sure that I could eventually forward the remainder to the

Here is a copy of page one of the actual specification:



Application Date Nov 25 1935   No.32659/35     464704

Complete Specification accepted : April 23, 1937


Improvements is or relating to a Manner of Withering Tea Leaf

                      And Appropriate thereafter


I, James Stoddart Lornie, a British subject, of Koliabor Tea Estate, Silghat Post Office,
Assam, British India, do hereby declare the nature of this inventionsand in what manner
the same is to be performed, to be particularly described and ascertained in and by
the following statement:--

    This invention relates to the withering of tea leaf in the process of manufacture  of
tea and includes an improved manner of carrying out the wither, more particularly in
the initial or loading and spreading stage .of the green leaf and in the unloading or
discharge of the withered leaf on completion of the withering. The invention also
realizes an improved wither owing to the more even spreading of the leaf and makes
a better product owing to the reduction  of manual handling to a minimum.  In order
that the improved manner of withering may be effected the invention provides
improved withering plant.

    The objects of the invention are as follows:

    To provide an automatically operable withering plant or house which is
mechanically operated to eliminate as far as possible the use of manual labour.

     One objective is to arrange matters and apparatus that the leaf.as plucked
after weighing , may be carried direct in the plucking baskets into the withering
house by the women who performed the plucking, and be deposited straight from
said baskets into the various hoppers or trays from which it automatically is dealt
with and spread.

    One main object is the mechanical spreading by power driven spreaders
which will be arranged to spread the leaf more evenly than is at all possible by hand.

    This object will result in the elimination of the hand spreading by boys. At
present withering chungs are spavced about 2'6" apart vertically and the leaf is
spread by boys who throw the leaf into the chungs. No matter how expert these
boys may become they cannot prevent an uneven thickness when leaf is thrown in .
By machine spreading an even thickness may be attained.

    Another object is to avoid difficulties with regard to the Factory Act according
to which the employment of children or boys within factories  may be restricted.
As withering chungs are now usually made there is a vertical space of 2'6"
between the chungs which is sufficient for boys to spread the leaf, but which
would be insufficient  and would cause considerable difficulty if adults have to be
employed for this purpose.

    Still another object of this invention is to economise space as it has been
found possible, by use of the apparatus to be hereinafter disclosed, to space
the layers of leaf approximately 12" apart, thus more than  doubling the area
of withering surface which may be provided  in a shed or withering house
of a given size.

    Another object of the invention is to provide a machine in which the spreading
surface is of canvas, or other desired material, in a continuous length, which forms
a multiplicity of withering surfaces superimposed one above the other, which
canvas can be driven at a slow and even speed when the leaf is being spread
thereon, and on which the leaf is spread by mechanical spreaders which may
be geared to the mechanism which drives the withering surface material so that
the relative speeds of the two may be adjusted to optimum conditions.

    Still another object of the invention is to enable a bank or rack consisting of
a plurality of superimposed withering surfaces to be spread with leaf in a
convenient length of time, for example in 15 minutes when the withering
surfaces are approximately 100' long.

    Still a further object is to be able to adjust the thickness of the spread of the
leaf to suit the weather conditions and to suit the wetness or dryness of the
leaf as it comes into the shed.

    Still a further object is to get a greater quantity of leaf spread on a given
surface area when the thickness is to be maintained on all parts of that surface.

The family Photos and some of the garden work and workers of 80 years
ago are shown below plus some photos taken in August by Joel Rapi of
the Koliabor Higher Secondary School as it is today August 2010

One Photo   shows the Nakarachi's section of the Assam Valley Light Horse ,
seven AVLH members,  with hats in front but only six hats---which member had lost his hat ? 
or was there another explanation

The remainder of the photos show tea garden work as it was about 1930 showing
plucking, pruning, planting of new plants, and pluckers still smiling

Please remember that the photos are about 80 years old and are in great condition


Burra bungalow, 1930

Another view of the Burra bungalow

Another view of the Burra bungalow

Ian and Bill with Sysce

'On the golf course', Lyall; ... ; Ramsay; Mrs Price; Dr Price & Somersville

The Nakarachi Sections of the 'Assam Valley ... House'

With Padre Wyld waiting for a boat

AVLA (Assam Valley Light Horse) training camp

Putting leaf in a leaf house

Going home

New leaf house

Bringing in the leaf

School Pics

Top of Footbal shield

One of the winners

Centre of Shield

Outside the school Anna , Sadik Begum, and Joel Rapi