A Grandmother’s Legacy

Jenny’s talk, based on a book written by her, was both fascinating and inspirational.

She had inherited a book from her grandmother in which were recipes of dishes enjoyed by her ancestors. The recipes contained both British as well as Anglo-Indian dishes. Jenny had been inspired to trace her family’s involvement in India under the British Raj.

Her talk included many old family photos, printed illustrations of life in India, family trees and photos and drawings of many places in India.

Her story begins in Mirfield in West Yorkshire and progresses through Leeds, Bangalore, Madras, Delhi and the North West Frontier of India.

Starting with the Shandley family in Mirfield and the involvement in the woollen trade,

Jenny traces the links made commercially by the family with India. The move there resulted in marriages linked with Indian families and the resulting descendants of Anglo-Indian origin.

Beginning in the 1790s descendants of the Shandley family were employed in the East India Company, the Indian Army, the Royal Navy, the construction of the railways and India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ based in Bangalore. We were also shown how some family members progressed through society and made links with Indian royalty and the resulting changes that way of life entailed.

Jenny’s story took us up to independence of India from British rule in 1947 and the return of her grandmother to England. This meant the end of over five generations of her family with India under the British Raj.

The virtual talk by zoom was certainly enjoyed by the participants in the meeting which resulted in a number of questions put to Jenny and the sharing of experiences of by two who also had family connections with India.