We will discover the very first memsahibs to set foot into India in 1617, and how a fair amount of hoodwinking by these ladies enabled them to travel out to the East Indies at a time when the East India Company expressly forbade women to do this. We learn of the ‘fishing fleet’ ladies, English young women of marriageable age who found themselves faced with the social stigma of spinsterhood and were now looked upon as objects of pity, as fate had dealt them an unlucky hand. Their only way to gain a hand in marriage was to go in search of a husband, and quickly… We learn of the challenges that lay ahead for them in running a household and the considerations that they would need to bear in mind when hiring their servants.
Jenny Mallin is a researcher, author and now regular public speaker, five generations of whose family lived in India. After an early career in TV production with the BBC, she worked in the high tech industry as a corporate travel buyer before turning to researching and writing about her family history in India, which she has visited more than 30 times. In 2015 she published A Grandmother’s Legacy, a memoir cum cookbook that won the ‘Best in World Cookbook’ award. It mingles the history of her family when they lived in India, with recipes that were passed down through the generations.
This is an additional lecture to our normal programme. A Zoom link will be e-mailed to members a day or two before.