Life Story of Philip Henry Stewart Reid
by his son, Alex Reid

Chapter 3. Childhood in India

Philip's first memory of India is of an earthquake. He was wrapped in a blanket and carried downstairs one early morning, whilst the big hanging oil lamp swung like a pendulum. He also remembers lying on his back in a canvas cot on a house-boat in Kashmir when he was aged two. At Lahore the railway ran within earshot, and the noise of a distant engine's whistle has always carried him back in mind to his railed bed.

The Reid children had an English nanny - Annie Bugg - and an Indian nurse called an Ayah. A log fire blazed behind the big brass guard in the day nursery; the hot weather was spent in the hills. Their father, who was Chief Judge of the Punjab province, kept an establishment of about thirty servants. The servants lived with their families in the compound - a village behind the house. Arthur was fond of entertaining, and proud of his horses and stables. Philip was very proud of his pony Monarch, shown below in an illustration from Hilda's book 'Once There Were Three Chidlren'.

The garden was bounded by a cactus hedge. Water came from a well, worked by bullocks that walked round in a circle. The machinery was made of wood; one could hear it continually creaking and clattering. The flower beds and lawns were fed from irrigation ditches. Philip liked to ride in the driving seat behind the bullocks and played for hours damming the little streams. Two men did the household washing, standing in a cemented tank with the water up to their thighs, and beating the clothes on a slab. An old bespectacled tailor sat cross-legged on the house verandah, sewing.

The children said 'Good-night' to their father as he sat over home work in his study. Their mother came to see them in bed, often beautifully dressed for a dinenr party or a ball; once she wore fancy dress.

The Reid children left India when Philip was seven. Their father served some more years before retirement. In the autumn of 1909, when Philip was eight, he started boarding at Earleywood School. His sisters Hilda and Lesley went to live with their Aunt Nini. Their mother returned to India for the winter. Nanny Bugg married Sergeant Applin, who had waited patiently for her.

Next: Chapter 4: Earleywood School

Return to: Table of Contents


This website is published by Alex Reid, 27 Millington Road, Cambridge CB3 9HW. Telephone: +44 1223 319733. Email: aalreid(at) It is an electronic scrap book, containing family life stories, casual articles, and family memorabilia.


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