Untold lives blog

Sharing stories from the past, worldwide

06 February 2024

Interim ways of working with the India Office Records and Private Papers

Thank you for your patience during the disruption caused by the cyber-attack.  Please check our temporary website where you can find more information about our available services. Our blogpost Restoring our services - an update (10 January) provides more information on what is available and how to access our collections.

We would like to share some ways of working with the India Office Records and Private Papers during the disruption.

Physical collection access

Our website has the latest information on collection access.  There are printed catalogues and handlists in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room at St Pancras.  You can use the interim main catalogue to find relevant printed resources from our collections.  This short video explains how to do this. 

India Office Records and Private Papers material can be accessed in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room, including microfilm.  To order an item, you'll need to place a manual order by completing a paper order form.  Our staff can help you with this.  You can order up to four collection items per day.  India Office Records material can be photographed by readers, but India Office Private Papers require curatorial approval for photography.

New readers with temporary passes are currently unable to order any collection items from the stores.  The temporary pass will allow you to use our Reading Rooms for personal study, use our free wifi, and consult any items on the shelves in the Reading Rooms.

Digital resources

Catalogues for the India Office Records and Private Papers are available via The National Archives Discovery resource, although please be aware that recent cataloguing work is not included.

Internet Archive has catalogues for the India Office Records, including -

Martin Moir, General Guide to the India Office Records

William Foster, A Guide to the India Office Records 1600-1858.

Internet Archive also has other useful reference materials such as copies of the India Office List.

The India Office Records subject and collection guides from the previous British Library website are available on the Internet Archive.  Two are listed below, and more can be browsed from these:

South Asia subject page

India Office Records collection guide

Please note that archived sites may not feature all functionality, e.g. attached files and downloads.

Families in British India Society (FIBIS), e.g. the Indian Army and Indian Army List online

Qatar Digital Library - digital images of India Office Records and Private Papers on the history and culture of the Gulf and wider region.

The Untold Lives blog has a great variety of content about the India Office Records and Private Papers, e.g. Sources for Indian Independence and the creation of Pakistan

Subscription sites with large collections of digital images of India Office Records:

  • Findmypast - biographical sources from the India Office Records, including baptisms, marriages, burials, wills, appointment papers, pension records
  • AM East India Company - IOR/B Court Minutes, IOR/C Council of India, IOR/D Committee Papers, IOR/E Correspondence, IOR/G Factory Records.


We thank you again for your patience and hope that you find this information useful.

 

29 October 2023

Clement Mansfield Ingleby of Valentines

Clement Mansfield Ingleby was born in Edgbaston (Birmingham) on 29 October 1823.  He is remembered as a Shakespearean scholar, but his interests included metaphysics, mathematics and philosophy as well as literature.



Portrait drawing of Clement Mansfield IngelbyPortrait of Clement Mansfield Ingleby ‘from a recent photograph’ in Edgbastonia, Vol.III, No.25, May 1883.


Ingleby suffered from ill health throughout his life and was privately educated, but in 1843 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge.,  He graduated BA in 1847, later receiving the degrees of MA (1850) and LLD (1859).  Against his own inclination, he worked in the family firm as a solicitor until his father died in 1859.

On 3 October 1850 Ingleby married Sarah Oakes, and around 1860 they moved with their four children to live with Sarah’s uncle at Valentines in Ilford, Essex, her home as a teenager.  Ingleby provided for his family by writing – his work in the British Library catalogue comprises 18 books in 29 editions, including 12 on Shakespeare with an edition of Cymbeline with notes for schools.  He analysed Shakespeare’s use of words rather than writing a commentary on the meaning of his text, saying ‘The textual critic who discharges his true function is as one who, bearing torch or lantern, attempts to find his way through dark and devious lanes’.

In the 1850s Ingleby taught Metaphysics and Logic in the Industrial Department of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, and the British Library holds four books on these subjects. He also wrote many essays and contributed to publications like Notes & Queries. Apart from Shakespearean topics, his articles ranged from ‘The Principles of Acoustics and the Theory of Sound’ to ‘Miracles versus Nature’.  Ingleby also composed poetry, both serious and amusing, some of which was published in periodicals.  After his death, his verses were collected together and printed for private circulation.  This volume has now been reprinted.

At the Annual Meeting of Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust at Stratford-upon-Avon on 5 May 1875, the Trustees unanimously agreed to elect Dr Ingleby one of the Life Trustees.  He was also elected a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature, an honorary member of the Shakespeare Society of New York, and an honorary member of the German Shakespeare Society of Weimar.

In 1877 and 1881 he published the two volumes of his work Shakespeare – The Man and the Book.  This was a compilation of his writings gathered from a number of sources, some published in magazines, some previously unpublished.  In the introduction Ingleby says ‘It is useful to get one’s scattered papers together… the collection includes such of my smaller writings as I have deemed worthy of preservation’.



Title page and frontispiece of Shakespeare's Bones, showing a picture of the playwright on his death bedShakespeare’s Bones (1883)

One of Dr Ingleby’s later books, Shakespeare’s Bones (1883) was a proposal to disinter the skull so that it could be considered in relation to its possible bearing on Shakespeare’s portraiture.  The proposal was attacked in the press and firmly rejected by the town council, but it shows that he was a man who wanted facts, and his logical mind is evident in much that he wrote.

Ingleby was well liked in the Ilford area and had a particular fondness for children and animals, taking an interest in the fight against vivisection.  He suffered a serious rheumatic attack in August 1886 and, although he seemed to recover, died on 26 September.  His obituary in Shakespeariana said: ‘he died – honoured and mourned by all who knew him best and longest. . . . he probably never made an enemy and never lost a friend’.

CC-BY
Georgina Green
Independent researcher

Creative Commons Attribution licence

Further reading:
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Edgbastonia, Vol.III, No.25, May 1883
Shakespeariana, Vol.III 1886
Memoir of his father by Holcombe Ingleby in Poems and Epigrams (Trübner & Co, London, 1887) - Original in London Library, now available as a facsimile reprint.
Family papers donated to Redbridge Museum & Heritage Centre
History of Valentines Mansion 

 

26 October 2023

The happiest days of your life?

While the India Office archives contain documentation about all aspects of colonial education policy, inevitably little is to be found about the experiences of those who were being taught.  The  British Library is therefore very lucky to have the published memoirs of someone who was a pupil in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Cover of Orchids and AlgebraCover of Denise Coelho, Orchids and Algebra: the story of Dow Hill School (1986)

Denise Coelho’s slim 71-page book Orchids and Algebra is about her seven largely happy years as a boarder at Dow Hill Girls’ School just outside Kurseong in West Bengal.  Illustrated with various photographs and sketches, it is arranged in 177 short chapters, the titles of some giving a flavour of the work:

21. Of Inkwells & Soggy Pellets.
67. Ripping Times.
80. Teachers’ Pets.
135. Mrs. Stewart & Vegetables.
139. Winifred & the Ball Gown.
152. Rosalind and the Bear that Didn’t.
163. Tuck Parcels.

Denise loved art and English, enjoyed biology, tolerated history, endured piano lessons, and disliked mathematics – ‘I hated, with some intensity of feeling, the originator of algebra and the fiendishly devious brain that had devised my perpetual torment at these classes in school’ – but recorded that ‘It was my very good luck that the compilers of the Junior and Senior Cambridge arithmetic papers in the years I took these important examinations, set me a few sums I was capable of tackling, and this helped me scrape through with the minimum requirement of forty-five marks’.

Side view of Dow Hill SchoolSide view of Dow Hill School showing main building, classrooms, porch, Principal's office, stairway to senior dormitories, lower school dormitories back right - from Orchids and Algebra p.19

As in the English public schools system the girls were arranged in Houses, named after important figures of British India – Hastings, Wellesley and Clive.  Denise was in Hastings (Colour: green; motto ‘As Much As I Am Able’), the House which usually won the Work Shield; Clive (red; ‘I Serve’) tended to do best with the Games Shield, both no doubt rather looking down on the hapless members of Wellesley (blue; ‘Thorough’).

The pupils’ relations with their teachers – Miss Mackertich (Scripture and Needlework), Miss Cooper (Art), Miss Bwye (English – nickname ‘Booey’), Miss Smart (History; ‘the strictest teacher in Dow Hill’, nickname ‘Smut’) – were generally cordial, not seriously damaged by the event that went down in school annals as ‘The Cryptomeria Rebellion’, a failed attempt to get an unpopular Head Girl replaced (chapter 91).  Everyone at the school was shocked when the mother of Miss George, the Music teacher, was knocked down and killed by a bolting horse (chapter 30).

Outside lessons, Denise was able to watch Hollywood films, liking Errol Flynn, Ronald Colman, and Laurence Olivier, finding ‘Cary Grant had a hesitant charm and Spencer Tracy was a great actor’ but resisting the charms of ‘Shirley Temple with her prissy bobbing curls and cute dimples’.  She also wondered – was ‘E’, the topmost dormitory, really haunted?

The final chapter contains the score and lyrics of the school song, the chorus of which is

‘Ring out the strain both far and wide
Make it resound from every side
The echoes long on the ear prolong
Of this our song at Kurseong.'

Sad to relate, the school was damaged in a fire in February 2016.

Hedley Sutton
Asian and African Studies Reference Team Leader

Further reading:
Denise Coelho, Orchids and Algebra: the story of Dow Hill School (1986) 
Victoria and Dow Hill Association

India Office Private Papers Mss Eur F351 - a collection of memoirs mainly from the 1930s and 1940s of female pupils from Auckland House School near Simla.