Archive / Audio / BARKELEY-SMITH

Interview number: 079

Interviewer: Thatcher, Mary

Interview date: 1979-12-05

Length 44 minutes

Condition notes: Recording starts approximately 2 minutes into tape MT37 after two false starts, on 1st November 1977, with “Miss Best, who was in India in the ’30s and lived in Simla” and “Miss Best, who lives in London, in Highgate”. Our records do not show whether the recording was, in fact, made. The donor correspondence file and the MT questionnaire file show Miss Dorothy J. Best to have started and run a club for English nannies. Occasional electrical interference noise.

Wife of I.C.S. (District Magistrate, Agra), aged 92, at Mettenham, in Suffolk, on 05-12-1979. Includes observations on purdah and its greater prevalence in the early part of the 20th century. Her experience was of a much lower level of social activity and excess than is popularly claimed.

[See also CSAS archives: Barkeley Smith papers (husband Rupert B.S. memoirs, 1908-1922, “Indians told me”), and Coghill Papers (Mrs. H.B.S.’s great-uncle – includes siege and capture of Delhi, 1857)

Coverage notes: Agra, Nagpur, Naini Tal; touring; homesickness; Himalayan Terai; poverty, health, lethargy; purdah; unifying force, Hindu/Muslim balance, Independence; 1908-1922