Dilkusha In India and in Seoul



The house Dilkusha Kothi (heartís delight) near Lucknow in north-eastern India (left) was constructed around 1800  - 1805, designed by the British Major Gore Ouseley, an entrepreneur, linguist and diplomat, for the
Nawab of Oudh, Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. The design is usually said to bear a startling resemblance to the style of Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland, England (right). The park and house were a center of fighting during the Indian Uprising of 1857-8 but the house may have finally fallen into ruins rather later, at least by the late 1890s. The park remains until now.


Dilkusha in Seoul


First built by Bruce and Mary Taylor in 1923, the house was built on an open hillside overlooking Seoul, beside a huge, very ancient gingko tree. It received its name because Mary Linley had visited the ruins in Lucknow while she was touring India as an actress, and had resolved to give the name to her own house one day. Read Mary's long description: building the house, its interior (below left), and its rebuilding after destruction by fire.

Struck by lightning on July 26 1926, while the owners were in California, the house was seriously damaged, the entire contents of the attic, a fine collection of antiques, was lost, as was the upstairs floor.


After the 1926 fire, Bruce Taylor's brother Bill supervised the rebuilding as best he could, and the family resumed life there in (probably) autumn 1929. From 1927-29 the Boydell family from Australia lived in the house. The Grigsbys lived in rooms upstairs 1929-1930. Read Faith Norris's recollections of the house (she was only nine years old and her mother told her nothing about the fire, her 'memories' are mostly quite wrong). The fine garden with the old tree was especially memorable. There was a spring which the Koreans living in the neighborhood to the west of the house had always used and to which the Taylors had to grant access.



The photo on the right shows the house more clearly. Other photos show the house from the East ( below left, with the gingko) and the West (below right)



















Mary Taylor was detained in the house for some weeks in late 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor, then obliged to leave Korea. In the following year the house was stripped of its furnishings, which were sold by the Japanese authorities and the proceeds put into a bank account "for after the war.". When Mary returned to Seoul to bury her husband's ashes in 1948, the stripped house had been somewhat repaired; it survived the Korean War, but in the following decades Seoul changed very much and the garden (though not the gingko) disappeared. The house was inhabited by several different families although it seems that none had any legal title to it. It became increasingly run-down. Mary and Bruce's son, Bruce Taylor, visited the house in 2007 at age 88. He was born in Severance Hospital, Seoul, the day before the Independence Declaration of March 1, 1919, and Mary in her book tells that her husband, visiting her that evening, picked up the baby and discovered copies of the Declaration of Korean Independence hidden beneath it, having been printed in the hospital cellar in preparation for the next day's 3.1 Proclamation. He gave a copy to his brother Bill and sent him off to Japan to transmit the text to the American press (fearing censorship inside of Korea). This, she claims, was the initial source of western knowledge about the March 1 incident and it is the reason for the interest in Taylor and the house shown by Seoul City. The House has now been taken over and after it has been restored it will become a museum dedicated to the Taylors in the care of the Seoul Museum of History, late in 2020.