Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Ruling Caste by David Gilmour

Recently, I have been focusing my genealogical time on India as I work on a book about part of my family who spent time in India. Nothing special, except the research has unravelled some real surprises and I felt the stories were worthy of being shared through a wider audience.

The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the…As part of that research I wanted to fully understand India during the Victorian period and I came across The Ruling Caste by David Gilmour.

As always I turned to the index and was delighted to see a reference to another family connection.

It is those references I thought I would share here -

"Lewin Bowring felt that the great void in his life was travel. In 1854 he therefore set off on a long journeys through Rajputana, China (where his father, whom he had not seen for 10 years, was Governor of Hong Kong), France, Italy and Central Europe (which he toured three times), and the British Isles, where he inspected seventeen cathedrals" (page 276 Source Unpublished Memoirs).

"Lewin Bowring, who joined the Bengal Civil Service in 1843, won several prizes at Haileybury for Persian, Sanskrit and Hindustani. Yet on arrival in India he found his proficiency in these languages was "nearly useless" "(Page 40 Source Unpublished Memoirs)

I think we always assume that those who travelled to overseas destinations did so with little chance of returning home. That is a inaccurate. The amount of travel depended on your means in terms of financial and your status. The family whom I have been researching made several journeys, yet the time it took to travel and the conditions must have been very trying.


  1. May have been trying but for the adventurous ones it would have been new frontiers!

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  5. Did you do a review of the book? I have not read about India but this sounds like a good read to begin.

    1. I am still reading the book, but as soon as I have finished a review will be posted.