Untold lives blog

9 posts from February 2020

29 February 2020

A Leap Year tragedy

Early on the morning of Tuesday 1 March 1892, a Thames waterman named Holeyman was in his boat at St George’s Stairs Horselydown when he saw the body of a young man floating in the river.  He attached a rope to the body and brought it on shore. 

Southwark Bridge c.1825Southwark Bridge on the Thames from David Hughson, London; being an accurate history and description of the British metropolis (London, c.1825) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The dead man’s clothes were searched at the mortuary by Mr Upton, the coroner’s officer, and Police Constable Longman.  They found a copy of a newspaper from Monday evening in a pocket, indicating that the body had not been long in the water.  There were also several bunches of keys and a Leap Year proposal of marriage from a girl.

From the letter, it appeared that the young man’s last name was Baths.  He was described in newspaper reports as being ‘of gentlemanly appearance, aged about twenty-five, with dark hair and eyes’.  As he was carrying 43 keys, the press speculated that he had held a responsible position in a City office.

The young man was later identified as Edward Walter Batho.  He was a collector for the Automatic Cigarette Company.  Presumably the keys opened vending machines?  An inquest was held by Mr Langham and the jury returned an open verdict.  I have been unable to discover any more about the circumstances of this sad death. 

Edward Walter Batho was born in Deptford 1868, the son of Robert, a butcher, and his wife Elizabeth.  Edward had a large number of siblings.  His father died in 1879 and Elizabeth supported her youngest children by working as a sextoness in a church in the City of London.  She died in 1890. 

In the 1891 census, 23-year-old Edward was living in Abchurch Lane in the City as head of a household with his sister Amy aged 19 and brother Henry, 17.  Edward was described as a ‘Railway Collector’.  Less than a year later, Edward was dead. 

So we are left to wonder - who was the girl who wrote the marriage proposal?  Can a reader shed any light on this mystery?

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
British Newspaper Archive e.g. Coventry Evening Telegraph 2 March 1892; Aberdeen Press and Journal 9 March 1892; Illustrated Police News 12 March 1892


27 February 2020

A Ship-Board Romance: Lucia Green and Captain Luke Dodds

In December 1807, Miss Lucia Green boarded the East India Company ship Walmer Castle, bound for St Helena and a new life with her fiancé, the naturalist William John Burchell.  By the time the ship arrived in April 1808, Lucia had decided to break off her engagement.  And the reason for her change of heart?  During the voyage on the cramped East Indiaman, Lucia had fallen in love with the ship's Captain, Luke Dodds.  Burchell was devastated and never married. But what happened to Lucia and her Captain?

View of the Island of St Helena 1806 View of the Island of St Helena 1806 - Maps K.Top.117.131.e  Images Online

According to the journal of the Walmer Castle, Lucia disembarked at the Cape of Good Hope in June 1808.  In July 1809, she boarded the Warley at the Cape, and reached St Helena in August.  Captain Luke also returned to St Helena that summer, which must have been distressing for William Burchell.  The Walmer Castle arrived back in England in September 1809.  It must have still been love for the reunited Lucia and Luke, because they married in Lingfield, Surrey on 29 May 1810.

Passenger list of the Walmer Castle Passenger list of the Walmer Castle IOR/L/MAR/B/181F Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Luke Dodds was 20 years older than Lucia when they met.  He was born in Heworth, near Newcastle in 1768.  He went to sea aged 11 or 12, working the Northumberland coast as a seaman before finding work on the EIC ship Sulivan in 1785.  He worked variously as quartermaster, gunner’s mate, and boatswain on EIC ships on the China run, interspersed with voyages to the West Indies, becoming 1st mate on the Walmer Castle in 1798.  By 1805 he was Captain, and was to stay with the Walmer Castle on its runs to China via India until 1813.  It was a rapid rise, and Dodds would have made a comfortable amount of money on the way during his East India Company voyages.

Description of commanders and mates examined by the Committee of Shipping - entry for Luke Dodds

Description of commanders and mates examined by the Committee of Shipping - entry for Luke DoddsIOR/L/MAR/C/659 Description of commanders and mates examined by the Committee of Shipping. Entry for Luke Dodds, pp.120-121. Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The Dodds had two children - Henry Luke, born 5 February 1811, in Woodford, Essex, and Lucia, baptised Hastings, Sussex, 5 July 1815.  By the 1841 census Luke and Lucia were living comfortably in Hythe, Hampshire.  A magistrate, an 'Esquire' and a man of independent means, Luke Dodds died on 28 February 1849, aged 80.  He lived to see his daughter Lucia marry Graham Eden William Hamond on 7 December 1843.  She married well, Hamond being the son of Admiral Sir Graham Eden Hammond.  Unfortunately, the marriage was short-lived as tragedy struck when Hamond died at Woolwich on 23 January 1847 while in command of the steam-sloop Medea.  They had a daughter, Elizabeth Anne, and a son Graham Eden, an officer in the 7th Hussars, who died in 1872.  Elizabeth Ann married the Reverend John Henry Good, vicar of Hythe, in 1879.  Their son Cecil Henry Brent Good was born in April 1880.  In 1948, his daughter (and novelist) Cecily Good, great grand-daughter of Luke and Lucia, married Sir Basil Gould, becoming Lady Gould in the process.

Luke and Lucia's son Henry Luke Dodds never married.  He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and gained an MA from Cambridge in 1843.  He was vicar of Great Glen (or Glenn), Leicestershire from 1855 until his death in May 1886.  By the 1871 census his mother Lucia was living with him in the vicarage.  She died there on 6 November 1878 age 90 and was buried in the graveyard of St Cuthbert's Church.  Her headstone records her date of birth as 7 July 1788, meaning she was just 19 when she met Captain Dodds on that fateful journey to St Helena.  Lucia's headstone reads 'Dearly Beloved and Longed For' and the burial register is annotated (presumably by Henry Dodds) 'eheu! desideratissima' (Alas! Most longed for).  William Burchell may well have agreed.

Lesley Shapland
Cataloguer, India Office Records

Further reading
IOR/L/MAR/B/181F: Log of the Walmer Castle, October 1807-November 1809
IOR/L/MAR/B/182H: Log of the Warley, April 1807-October 1809

Heartbroken on St Helena: the naturalist William John Burchell - Part One and Part Two


25 February 2020

17th Century Recipes for Those Feeling Under the Weather

It is that time of year again when almost everyone is getting ill.  Luckily, the British Library manuscript collections are full of historic and innovative gastronomic concoctions to help alleviate your various ailments.

A fine place to start is with the Sloane manuscripts, which contain a formidable number of medical recipes, or receipts, as they were known before the 1700s.  On his death, collector and physician Sir Hans Sloane bequeathed his vast collections to the nation.  Chief among Sloane’s academic interests was medicine and he collected many manuscripts that illuminated approaches to medicine through the ages.  These manuscripts date back as early as the 10th century.  They form a fascinating record of the varying treatments used for illnesses over time, as well as highlighting the persistent impulse to treat ailments with food.

From the 1600’s onwards, we can read some of these recipes in modern English and see just what sort of potions we may have had to drink for an illness had we lived during the 17th century.  Here are a few informative examples:

Recipe for the treatment of consumptionRecipe for the treatment of consumption, Sloane MS 3949 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

For the treatment of consumption, it was recommended to take 3 pints of cow milk, 12 yolks of fresh eggs, 6 ounces of fine breadcrumbs, 3 ounces of fine cinnamon, 2 or 3 pieces of fine gold (surely a staple of every good chef’s kitchen cupboard), 5 ounces of fine sugar, mix together and bring to the boil.  Then one would drink as much of it at a time as possible, or as the recipe states, as much ‘as you shall think convenient’.

Recipe2Recipe to ward off fever, Sloane MS 3949  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

This was a nice simple recipe to ward off fever:  Take a piece of white bread and dip it in red rose water, then strew it with sugar and eat it an hour before the fit (obviously it helped to know when you were due to be ill for this one).

Recipe 3Recipe against the plague, Add MS 4376 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

If you were feeling particularly unwell, had buboes in your armpits and a progressively aggressive fever that hinted at your impending doom, then you more than likely had the plague.  In this case, you would have needed to consult the following advice by order of the Corporation of London.  It involves taking rue, sage, mint, rosemary, wormwood and lavender and infusing them together in a gallon of white wine vinegar (so far, so very Waitrose), cooking them in a pot for eight days, draining the liquid and then applying this to the body every day.  You would also have to pour a bit of the mixture onto a sponge to smell when you happened to pass by a particularly plague-ridden avenue.  This receipt even includes its own product review.  It states that criminals would put some of the recipe on their bodies before robbing the houses of those deceased from plague, and that despite them entering these sites of contagion, they had remained healthy.

Although very different from a modern cough medicine, one can recognise in these recipes a few familiar tendencies, such as: equating infused herbs with health; using warm dairy products to comfort; and the use of sugar to make the mixtures more palatable.

Jessica Gregory
Curatorial Support Officer, Modern Archives and Manuscripts

Further Reading:
Ayscough, S., A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the British Museum (London: John Rivington, 1782), 2 vols
Hunter, Michael, and others, eds, From books to bezoars: Sir Hans Sloane and his Collections (London: British Library, 2012)
Scott, E. J. L., Index to the Sloane manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1904)


20 February 2020

Baptisms, Barracks, Bazaars: indexing the India Office Records

'Cleverness is not required in an indexer; brilliancy is dangerous.  The desirable quality is clearness.'

So begins The Technique of Indexing (1904), a manual by a pioneer in the field of indexing, Mary Petherbridge.  A graduate in natural sciences from Cambridge University, Mary set up The Secretarial Bureau in London in 1895.  The Bureau offered a range of services; enterprisingly, it also gave training in secretarial and indexing work.  For women, this was an opportunity to learn skills that could help them to earn an independent living.

Mary’s timing was fortunate.  The great department of state, the India Office, held many volumes of historical documents that were effectively unusable because they had no indexes.  Of particular concern were 488 volumes of East India Company letters to India, covering the Company’s history from 1753 to 1858.  In 1901 the Superintendent of Records, Arthur Wollaston, decided that male clerks could not be spared for indexing work.  Women from the Bureau were commissioned instead.

Although freelance, Mary quickly established a firm relationship with the India Office.  She set up an office in the Record Department, at one point even bringing in her own furniture.  There her small staff, usually between four and eight women, indexed the correspondence, Royal Commission reports, and other records.  Mary also acted as the Department’s Dutch and Portuguese translator.  Her business flourished, as her office stationery shows:

Office stationery from The Secretarial BureauIOR/L/R/7/101 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

For the Bureau, the India Office commission was clearly prestigious.  Examples from the East India Company’s records featured in The Technique of Indexing:

The Technique of IndexingPage from The Technique of Indexing Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Mary selected her best pupils to be trained on the India Office premises.  One of these was Theodora Bosanquet, who later was to become well known as the secretary to Henry James.  Years afterwards, Theodora recalled being hard at work in the office when she heard The Ambassadors being read aloud to a fellow pupil – a dictation exercise.  James had approached the Bureau to find a secretary; Theodora volunteered for the role.  The scene that she evokes is an appealing one: James’s words echoing in the offices upstairs, while the business of government carried on in the formal rooms below.

The indexing of the India correspondence was finally completed in 1929.  Mary and her staff had created a remarkable 430,000 index entries, filling 72 volumes.  Not long afterwards, Mary closed down the Bureau.  She herself continued to work as Official Indexer to Government until her death in 1940.

These index entries make up almost a third of the entries in the Records catalogue today.  Mary’s contribution is recorded only in the invoices that she submitted (at a rate of 2s 6d per 100 entries by 1929).  But no one did more to open up the East India Company’s later archives than she.  Generations of researchers have reason to be grateful!

Antonia Moon
Lead Curator, Post-1858 India Office Reocrds

Further reading:
India Office Records: IOR/L/R/6/224
Hazel K Bell, From Flock Beds to Professionalism: a history of index makers (Oak Knoll Press: Hatfield, Herts, 2008)
Theodora Bosanquet, ‘As I Remember Henry James’, Time & Tide, 3 July 1954, pp. 875-76
Mary Petherbridge, The Technique of Indexing (The Secretarial Bureau: London, 1904)


18 February 2020

Following in your late brother’s footsteps

Nicholas White was born 7 May 1875, the thirteenth child and youngest son of Nicholas White, a Cornish farmer of 50 acres and his wife Mary Jane Gartrell.  Nicholas was perhaps not the name his parents had intended for him, as his arrival was overshadowed by a family tragedy a few short days later.

Nicholas and Mary Jane White already had a son named Nicholas. He was their eldest son, born in 1855 and a student at the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill, Englefield Green, Surrey.

On the afternoon of 12 May 1875 Nicholas and another student George Morley had gone swimming in the Thames near Runnymede. Nicholas got into difficulty in the water and had drowned, almost taking his friend George with him according to testimony at the inquest the following week.

RunnymedeRunnymede from The Half Hour Library of Travel, Nature and Science for young readers (London, 1896) Shelfmark 10027.ee BL flickr Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Whatever name the Whites had intended for their newborn son, by the time his birth was registered and he was baptised on 6 June he too was given the name Nicholas, presumably in memory of his late brother.

The links to his late brother did not end there.  On 30 April 1894 Nicholas applied to and was also accepted for entry at the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill, going on to work as a Civil Engineer for the Public Works Department in the Punjab.  He spent his career in the Punjab rising to Chief Engineer and Secretary to Government in the Public Works Department by March 1925.  He was awarded a CBE in 1929 and retired in May 1930 returning to England.

Nicholas was married in India in October 1902 to Maud Nina Magniac (b.1873).  Following their return to England they lived in Clevedon, Somerset where they remained until their deaths, Maud in 1952 and Nicholas in 1959.

Nicholas senior and junior were not the only White brothers to attend the Royal Indian Engineering College.  John Henry White (born in 1868) also studied there.  He took up his service in India in 1891 with a career in railway engineering.  John was engineer-in-chief for the construction of the North-Western Railway in September 1914 and Deputy Director of Railways in Mesopotamia 1916-1917.  He also married in India in November 1903 to Louisa Winifred Gartrell, a cousin on his mother’s side.  He retired from the service in August 1923, leaving India and settling with his wife and children in St Helier, Jersey.

Karen Stapley
Curator, India Office Records

Further reading:
IOR/L/AG/9/8/4, No. 73 – Accountant General’s department miscellaneous matters: Question of deferred fees in case of student who drowned (Mr N White), 1875.


14 February 2020

Ciphers and sympathetic ink: secret love letters in the Granville papers

Before the encrypted digital communication of our day, diplomatic correspondence involved using trusted couriers, and sometimes ciphers of the kind that featured in an earlier Untold Lives blogpost.  Lord Granville (1773–1846), whose family papers have recently been acquired by the British Library, would have been no stranger to such methods, as a diplomat who served in both St Petersburg and Paris.

Secrecy was vital for Granville’s long correspondence with his lover Lady Harriet Bessborough (1761-1821) too.  When their affair was at its height, they wrote daily.  Both then, and later when arranging care and education of their illegitimate children, discretion was of the utmost importance.  Only a few of their closest friends were privy to the true nature of their relationship.  Gossip and innuendo could not be entirely suppressed, but the real danger was of incontrovertible evidence – like letters - falling into the wrong hands.  This could have led to loss of reputation, position, and even children for Lady Bessborough.

So all the more surprising is the openness of their correspondence, particularly the letters of Lady Bessborough.  Though plagued with fear of discovery and ruin, she must have been confident that these communications were reasonably secure.

The letters and notes were delivered direct or via intermediaries, by messenger or post.  While Granville was away in Russia, they went by diplomatic courier – a particularly secure channel of communication.  Those letters were numbered like diplomatic despatches, often written over several days, in contrast with the hurried scrawl typical of communications between them in England.  Nevertheless, Lady Bessborough was concerned for their safety and confidentiality, and had to be reassured by their friend George Canning that all would be well.

Letter from George Canning to Lady Bessborough, 2 November 1804

'You may depend upon it – your fears about the Foreign Office are perfectly groundless … if you think you should derive any additional security from sending your letters to me, to be forwarded under my cover to G, I will take change of them with the greatest pleasure & will certainly take all the care of them that I do of my own…'  Letter from George Canning to Lady Bessborough, 2 November 1804 (Add MS 89382/3/2 ff. 7-8).Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

They used code names for mutual friends and public figures.  Granville himself was nicknamed 'Mr Arundel' and Lady Bessborough signed her letters to Russia 'Ann Newton'.

A list of cipher names compiled by Lady Bessborough, 1804.A list of cipher names compiled by Lady Bessborough, 1804. Mr Pitt is 'My Uncle', Charles Fox 'Anne', Mr Canning 'The Pope', the King 'Mr Wyatt' and so on (Add MS 89382/3/6)Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Back in England, they had used various subterfuges, sometimes employing “a feign’d hand”, writing in French or Italian to give protection from servants’ eyes, and directing to other names and addresses.

Lady Bessborough to Lord Granville, July 1798

'Una mezza paroletta mio dolce tesoro, per darti felice notte, e poi addio, che non ho forza bastante per scriverti questa sera sono tanta straccata. You laugh so at me for writing Italian,that I stop’d short & waited till Mary went away, instead of finishing my letter then. I don’t know whether she tries to read or not, but it always appears to me as if she did and puts me in a great fidget if I am writing English.'  Lady Bessborough to Lord Granville, July 1798 (Add MS 89382/2/8 f.119r) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Occasionally the couple took even stronger precautions.  Letters from summer 1798 tell how they experimented with vitriol (ferrous sulphate, an ingredient of ink) and sympathetic inks, two different methods of secret writing.  Ink made up of vitriol without galls produced a colourless writing which only darkened when spirit of galls was brushed over it.  Sympathetic ink on the other hand was invisible until brought close to heat.  Despite sympathetic ink’s convenience and availability, Lady Bessborough declared her preference for vitriol.

Add MS 89382.2.8 f.102rWriting in ordinary and sympathetic ink, on the same page.  'I have got some sympathetic ink but I do not like it half as well as the Vitriol, only it is easier got as they send in the colour boxes of course - and they say it comes & goes as you put it near & take it from the fire. I shall write a few words underneath to try - the first fire you meet with make the experiment, it will do with a candle but not so well.'  Letter from Lady Bessborough to Lord Granville, postmark 11 July 1798 (Add MS 89382/2/8 f.102r) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Importantly, secrecy meant relying on servants –otherwise invisible lower class people like maids, midwives, and nurses.  We know the name of Sarah Peterson, Lady Bessborough’s maid: 'Sally' crops up throughout the correspondence.  Letters from her to Granville after Harriet’s sudden death in Florence requesting loans and assistance for her brother (a riding master in Gazeepore) give us some idea of the value and significance of her role - and an inkling of the turmoil into which she herself was now thrown by the death of her mistress of 39 years.

Letter from Sarah J Peterson to Lord Granville requesting £800 loan for a house lease and furniture, 3 April 1822

'My Lord, I return your Lordship by most grateful thanks for your generous present to me and the kindness with which you recieved me.  I hope I shall not forfeit that kindness and your good opinion which is most dear to me by the bold & I almost fear improper request I am going to make.  It is with trembling I do so and humbly implore you will not be offended if you cannot comply but continue your promise of being a Friend to me for the sake of the Dear one. …'  Letter from Sarah J Peterson to Lord Granville requesting £800 loan for a house lease and furniture, 3 April 1822 (Add MS 89387/3/1, ff. 62-63) Public Domain Creative Commons Licence


Tabitha Driver
Cataloguer Modern Archives & Manuscripts


11 February 2020

Internment during the Second World War – Part Two: an album created by a Prisoner of War in Italy

Here is the second of a multi-part series on internment, highlighting the experiences of both civilians and military personnel detained across the globe in the Second World War.

Internment was often a negative experience, but here is something positive which came out of it - a scrapbook put together by British prisoner of war W. “Bill” Millett interned in Rezzanello, Italy.  His regiment was captured in early 1941 while in Africa.  The album features contributions from various men in the camp, Britons, Australians, Indians, and others.  The entries include poems, prose, sketches and even watercolours, showing the talents of these prisoners of war. Bill was evidently held in high regard by others in the camp. Londoner Captain S.G.M. Wright sarcastically reflects:

‘When I look back on these days,
I shall remember you Bill,
With your peculiar annoying ways,
Which, I see you possess still.’

There are 53 contributions, many providing an insight into life in the camp.  One concerns food: ‘The burial of one more (breakfast) at Rezzanello’. The author longs for eggs, bacon, and coffee.  Another regards gambling: ‘Smoke filled eyes and tongues all furry, scarcely seeing in the gloom, Knights of the Round Table, see them, in the castle anteroom.’  Perhaps the most insightful is this two-page drawing showing important times of day, including waiting for the toilet:

‘Another Day’ - sketches by Arthur Powell‘Another Day’ by Arthur Powell, 13 December 1941 – Add MS 89265 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The illustrations include sketches of men, women, children, regiment logos, and even two watercolours of horses.  Horse racing is a theme which consistently appears throughout the album, generally with the jaded pessimism of experienced gamblers.  Most however, appear when the contributors ask Bill to come and see them after the War.  This belief that the War will be over soon persists throughout.

While most contributions are written in English, the album contains prose in other languages too.  One man wrote a couplet in Persian which he saw in Delhi, which he (doubtfully) ascribes to Firdawsi; it contains a few mistakes and is composed in reality by Amīr Khusrau Dehlavī.  Another man gave a short passage in Morse Code:

Couplet in Persian Giles Farmer, 27 January 1942 - Add MS 89265  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence                            


Passage in Morse CodeL.Canty [undated] - Add MS 89265 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Dickie Findlay-Shirras of the Gordon Highlanders takes the prize for most impressive prose, writing in a combination of English, French, Italian and German!

Message in a combination of English, French, Italian and GermanDickie Findlay-Shirras [undated] - Add MS 89265 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Unsurprisingly, many entries contain philosophical thinking on the effects of internment.  Perhaps Major Brian Ashford-Russell says it best, identifying the positive outcomes of their imprisonment:

‘If our forced sojourn in Italy
has taught us tolerance… given us a better understanding
of the problems and comradeship
of the members of the great-
British Commonwealth, then the
Days will not have been wasted
And we may regard ourselves
As making a real contribution
To the peace, if not to the war.'

The album is not a typical prisoner of war diary.  Judging from the album, men interned at Rezzanello appear to have been treated leniently and with relative freedom.  Major H.A. Moorley, nicknamed Sinbad the Sailor, should have the last word:

 ‘And if ever in the afterwards,
I am called upon again,
To languish in a prison camp,
in sun or snow or rain,
I hope that arrangements are made,
By the Powers that Be to see,
That the same eight cheeky blighters,
Are in a room with me.’

Jack Taylor
Doctoral researcher at the Open University. His CHASE-funded research explores sexual violence between men in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Further Reading:
Add MS 89265 - Album of W. (Bill) Millett, Rezzanello prisoner of war camp, Italy.
BBC News, ‘An Italian adventure’   17 October 2005
Charles Rollings, Prisoner Of War: Voices from Behind the Wire in the Second World War (2007) (especially pp.272-281).
The Memory Project, ‘Veteran Stories: Arthur Powell’ 

05 February 2020

Garrod Family Papers

A recent addition to the collections of India Office Private Papers has been fully catalogued and is now available to researchers.  The Garrod Papers consist of the family archives of William Francis Garrod, a Chaplain in the Indian Ecclesiastical Establishment from 1930 until 1947, his wife Isobel and their four children.  The collection gives a fascinating glimpse into the life of a British family living and working in India at the end of the British Raj.

The Garrod family in 1933 - parents with two small children  The Garrod Family in 1933-  India Office Private Papers Mss Eur F730 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

William was born in Bristol in 1893.  He served in France with the Worcestershire Regiment from 1915 until 1918, and in India and the Middle East with a Punjab Regiment until 1922.  On returning to England, he studied history and theology at Queens College, Oxford, where he met Isobel who worked in the Bursary at the College.  They got engaged in August 1926, and were married two years later in July 1928.  The collection contains a lovely group of correspondence between them from this period, which was featured in an earlier Untold Lives blog .  In 1930, they travelled to India on William’s appointment as a Chaplain in the Indian Ecclesiastical Establishment.  They spent the next ten years raising a family, while William worked in various parishes across northern India.

Army identity card for William Garrod Army identity card for William Garrod -  India Office Private Papers Mss Eur F730 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Photograph of William Garrod in Army uniformWilliam Garrod -  India Office Private Papers Mss Eur F730 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

In 1941, William returned to military service as a chaplain in the Indian Army, being posted to Iraq and Syria with the 10th Indian Division.  In 1943, he was promoted to Assistant Chaplain General, first with Eastern Command, then with the Southern Army.  He returned to civil duty in January 1946, and the family returned to England later that year on William’s retirement from the Indian Ecclesiastical Establishment.

Letter from Isobel Garrod  April 1941 Letter from Isobel Garrod April 1941 - India Office Private Papers Mss Eur F730 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The collection contains a large amount of family correspondence.  William and Isobel wrote regularly to each other whenever they were apart, particularly when he was on active service during the Second World War.  The importance of keeping in touch with family through writing letters was made clear by William in a file in the collection (shelfmark Mss Eur F730/2/12).  In a short article sent to all Chaplains in the Southern Army, William highlighted the importance of letter writing for the morale of the men in the Army overseas.

Article on the importance of letter writing by William GarrodArticle on the importance of letter writing by William Garrod  - India Office Private Papers Mss Eur F730 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Also included in the collection are files of demi-official correspondence relating to William’s war work as Assistant Chaplain General, maps of the Middle East, printed papers (including instruction guides for officers during the First World War, and papers on Christian teaching and prayer), and albums of family photographs illustrating their life in India.

The Garrod Family Papers are available to view in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room, and the catalogue is searchable on Explore Archives and Manuscripts.

John O’Brien
India Office Records

Further Reading:
Garrod Family Papers - Collection reference: Mss Eur F730