Archive / Papers / Scott, Lady B. Papers: Box 2


Papers of Lady Beatrix Scott, wife of Sir Walter Scott, I.C.S., C.I.E. Sir Walter arrived in India in 1904 and served in senior positions in Assam between 1905 and 1939. In September 1932 he was appointed Chief Secretary to Government and in June 1935 he was made a Member of the Governor’s Executive Council.

  1. Tied bundle of 31 manuscript letters written by Lady Scott to her mother and mother in law, 1917-26, (172ff.), together with two items comprising a diary for April 1930, (25ff).The first three letters, evidently written in 1917, describe Lady Scott’s journey from Sydney to Shillong. She travelled on the S.S. Montoro to Singapore and then on the S.S. Tara to Madras. In all the journey took six weeks and that portion on the Tara was particularly difficult as the boat was not built for passenger traffic. Her letters describe her fellow-passengers and the conditions on board. On arrival at Silchar in Assam, Lady Scott found the Deputy Commissioner’s bungalow shabby. Lady Scott’s letters continue as follows:
    • 12 February 1919. Journey to Aijal, Lushai Hills. On pony for eight days. Describes house and food arrangements.
    • 19 February 1919. Young assistant commandant at Lungleh wishing to marry Lushai girl, has been told he will no longer be able to continue with Service or Army.
    • 15 June 1919. Aijal. Dislikes loneliness. Sir Walter distressed with sickness and poverty among the peoples. She dislikes mental and moral attitudes of Eurasians. Sir Walter tours often with Mr Barnes.
    • 24 August 1919. Aijal. Tiger cubs sent down to Calcutta zoo. Has brought 20 ducks from Silchar. Gives details of clothing needed for winter. Strained relations with the few other women on the station.
    • 1 September 1919. Bungalow on Aijal – Silchar Road. Description of house. Finding life dull and depressing.
    • 9 January 1923. Camp Sibulalang. Last tour. Sad to leave the Lushai area. Describes bungalows en route to Lungleh. On the Peak of Honeifang (-) a Helio-signalling post from Aijal to Lungleh. Describes the Lungleh Water Works.
    • 25 January 1923. Camp Sherkore. Describes new bungalow built by the Chins. Turpang Fort – description of the Lakher people. Tells of a missionary in Lorraine and family who have been at Sherkore for fifteen years and is a source of concern for the Government as it is only a ‘loosely controlled area’. Camp Tuisi: Stays in new Lakher house. Relates past and border incident concerning Mr Needham and the people of Lungchoi.
    • 4 February Blue Mountain Camp (7,200 ft). Tree high rhododendrons. She is the first white woman at this camp.
    • 5 November 1923. Gauhati. House in Aijal in very bad repair. Describes people in the Survey School. Touring from Jorhat to the SubDivisional Headquarters of North Lakhimpur. They are using bicycles instead of ponies, crossing the Bhramaputra river. Brief description of Lakhimpur and says younger men with families in the Service in an area like this have hard time financially – no cars or ponies and do their touring on foot. Cultivated land is predominantly mustard.
    • 19 November 1923. North Lakhimpur, Circuit-House. Finds life excessively dull with nothing to do. Much opium eating. Comments on the bad cooking at Mr Shaw’s and feels young men in the Service ought to be taught cooking. Her own cook is excellent. Comments on the imperfections of the rules and regulations of the I.C.S. Travels on the SS Ardgour on the Subansiri River at Burdute Ghat. Describes the Dafflas. Saw mill and tea gardens. Says she loves India in spite of all difficulties. Gauhati – staying with Mr Gunning – his description of the Josseins who live on an island in the Bhramaputra. Remarks on the non-cooperation movement and is sorry fox the Anglo-Indians. Comments on Mrs Blenkworth’s bitterness. (Dr Blenkworth is the doctor in Aijal.)
    • 13 December 1923. Nasira Road. Describes dentist’s house and railway station. Comments on the servants. Describes the difficulties of household duties. Dak bungalow at Golaghat excellent. House repairs in Shillong – Christmas. Electric illuminations.
    • 9 January 1924. Shillong. Details preparations for next tour in Sylhet. Karemganj – visit the Agricultural Experimental Farm. Nilam Bazaar. Comments on the non-cooperation movement. Report of murder of Englishman in Calcutta – mistaken identity, should have been Mr Tegart, Chief of Police. Meets Mr Bentinck and Mr Mullens and several missionary families in Maulvi Bazaar, one of whom, Mr Pengwern Jones, has been there 40 years.
    • 29 January 1924. Srimangal. Teliapara: Kindness and generosity of tea planters. Shaistagang. Habigang. Witnesses an anti-British demonstration celebrating Gandhi’s release from internment. Visits Baniachang.
    • 27 February 1924. Shaestagunj. Women’s Hospital (Welsh Mission) no doctor, only qualified nurse, Miss Evans. Conversation with a Mohammedan on why he sends his children to a Christian School, Sylhet, having travelled 70 miles. Meets Mr Rawson, Manager of Sylhet Limestone Crushing Works.
    • 6 March 1924. En route for Calcutta by train: conversation with two American ladies on present Indian political situation. Stays with Mr and Mrs Figg. Dental work.
    • 7 May 1924. Shillong. Details her social life for a week. Has her portrait done by Mrs Maxwell, wife of the Regimental Commanding Officer.
    • March 1925. Travels to Melbourne on the S.S. Khyber and S.S. Neltore.
    • 15 November 1925. Gabru. Touring. Staying in a ‘chang’, that is, bungalow built on stilts. Whekiajuli – very bad roads – bicycling. Bhramaputra Valley. Orang. Bad cook. Dalgaong – increase of 25,000 Mymensinghi into area. Comments on the futility of the smoking prohibition for juveniles. Mangaldai.
    • 27 November 1925. Camp Kalaigaon. Mangaldai Sub-division. Orange gardens. Meets again Deaconess travelling through villages with Reverend E.K. Surwan – Bishop Hubbuck trying to get her a house. Camp Tangla. Rangir – good, clean bungalow.
    • 18 December 1925. Camp Rehabari. Patarcharkuche. Camp Hilapukri.
    • 2 January 1926. Borpela. Sub-divisional Officer is Muffizir Rahman, wife is Zoi Majid – interesting conversations. Comments that she is meeting more Indians now but has not yet had an Indian meal.
  2. Diary for April 1930. Leaves Shillong. Boat journey to New Zealand via Rangoon, Penang, Port Swettenham, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore – Raffles Hotel, Batavia, Samarang, Sourabaya, Celebes. 25 ff.
  3. “Children of Assam”, a collection of 6 children’s stories
    • Siemkungi – a little Lushai girl.
    • Thevoni – A little Nagi boy.
    • Ka Sil – A child of the Khasi hills.
    • Thombe – A child of Manipur State.
    • Daku – A little boy from an Assam tea garden.
    • Sita – A little Hindu girl of the Assam plains.