AGBU UK Trust.
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|Albert would have witnessed the incredible spectacle of the Shah’s welcome in London that brought thousands of people onto the streets.|
Annie Evans – Her Family
|Annie’s baptism record|
Tragedy struck soon after the last child Thomas’s birth. Their mother Elizabeth (nee Stephens) died in 1866 in Llantilio Pertholey, leaving their father William to cope with the children; it seems he didn’t manage very well.
|Burial record of Elizabeth Evans at Llantilio Portholey|
|Marriage certificate of Wellington Ellis and Elizabeth Evans|
|Extract from the Imperial Diamond trial. The Times of India 18 December 1891.|
|Albert Abid was in service to the Nizam here at Chowmahela Palace, Hyderabad. He and Annie enjoyed free and full access to the Nizam at all times.|
Albert and Annie’s Children
|baptism record of Gladys Abid|
|baptism record of Elizabeth Abid|
|baptism of Aviet Abid|
|The baptism record of Alexander Malcolm Abid showing Alexander Malcolm Jacobs as godfather.|
|Marriage record of Sarah Georgina Evans and William Marr|
|Burial record of little Winifred Marr and 10 days later her father William.|
|Sarah decided to return to England and to try to ease the financial burden, Sarah placed an advertisement in the Times of India in September 1889 to care for young children in return for her paid passage back to England.|
The Imperial Diamond Trial
|The Drawing Room of Chowmahela Palace, Hyderabad where precious jewels and gems would have been purchased by the Nizam with the assistance of Albert Abid.|
I have created a map showing key pinned locations in the west country. By the time Albert, Annie and their children had returned permanently to England in 1894 Wellington Ellis, husband of Annie’s sister Elizabeth had died. He had been protector and provider for many years to the Evans siblings and whether deliberately or by chance, Albert stepped into that position.
In 1894, Col. Mackenzie the Resident in Hyderabad conducted an interview with the Nizam part of which touched on Albert Abid’s decision to settle down in England.
|Extract from the interview with the Nizam regarding Abid's intention to settle in England|
In a rather superior tone, Col. Mackenzie, reported the contents of the conversation back to the Government in London by letter and he was surprised and rather incredulous at the thought of Abid taking up residence and settling in Devon. Mackenzie finished his letter with a touch of pompousness and with an unnecessary under-hand cutting flourish he said: “…you know of course that Abid was E. Smiths and Matthews dressing boy……” This was British establishment declaring that Albert had gone above his station in life.
|The Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette 22 June 1894|
Albert around the turn of the century.
|The Times of India – passenger list 31 March 1897. Albert commenced his journey back to England with the trophy.|
In July 1897 the programme for the Devon County Volunteer Association Prize Meeting was issued. The competition was scheduled to take place between the 17-19 August. The Abid Challenge Trophy was to be shot for by the officers of the county. The stipulation for keeping the cup was that it had to be won three times by the same individual.
|Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 20 August 1897 – The Abid Challenge Trophy.|
It is no real surprise the boys looked the part of genuine bejewelled Princes given that their father had worked for one for years. One can only imagine about the jewellery collection the Abid’s had when they settled in England, pearls were probably the least precious items in the family’s possession.
|In June 1899 Albert advertised in the Friend of India for an engineer capable of working with his ice factory in Hyderabad.|
The Next Step - Naturalisation
|Extract from Albert’s original naturalisation application.|
All of them were living in England at the time of the application and therefore legitimately able to act as sureties.
Part of the application was a reference given by The Superintendent of Devon Constabulary, R.G. Collins. It would appear to conflict with the observations of a local Devon historian Derrick V. Rugg’s account of the Abid’s as referred to in Khalidi’s paper6 in which Rugg said: “despite the wealth and the patronage of local charities, church and the club, all the attributes of someone aspiring to be a Squire, evidently the Abids were not socially accepted. When Albert Abid arrived he sent cards as the gentry did to invite folk to “at home” afternoons. But nobody came to Dulford House.”
|Albert’s application was approved and he swore his oath of allegiance on the 16th March 1900.|
Albert didn’t confine his investments wholly to India. The extended 26 roomed Dulford House he had created as a home for his family was of course their main residence, but he also bought a small town house only 48 miles away in Dorchester which he rented out. The Voters List for Dorchester between 1901-1908 is evidence of the secondary property owned by Albert7.
|Dorchester Voters List showing Albert Abid’s rental property.|
|Albert’s rental property would have looked similar to this one in the same road.|
Dulford Moves to the Beat of the Gramophone
|Typical 19th century design of an Indian marquee, probably similar to Abid’s. Copyright British Library India Office: Prints, Drawings and Paintings.|
The list of guests, (which included a number of people from the Armenian community based in London and they are marked with an *) who attended the garden party and later the highlight of the weeks’ festivities, the Ball on the 25th August were as follows:
|The Western Times 1 September 1904.|
|Annie Apcar and her Balthazar sisters.|
Annie regularly wrote to her daughter Kitty whilst she attended boarding school near Brighton. It is fortunate that this precious social history has been preserved by the family in a book: “Letters from a Merry Widow and Two Gentlemen 1906-1914” by Christopher Carlisle. There are several mentions about their friends the Abids of Devonshire and in a letter dated 22 July 1906, Annie Apcar is noted as telling Kitty that their plans to visit Dulford were “knocked on the head, as I hear Mrs. Abid is not well……”.
|The Western Times 10 March 1909|
Annie Apcar heard the news and wrote to her daughter Kitty on the 12 May “…Here is a piece of news for you. Gladys Abid is engaged to de Schmidt (I can’t spell his name), the policeman, and the wedding is to be in July and we are all called to go to it. You will be home for it and it’s by the end of the month. She is wild with happiness………”.
|The marriage certificate for Gladys and Eric. Note the name change comment at the top, I refer to this a little later in the blog.|
|Alexander Malcolm Satoor Abid|
In the Proposal for membership of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1928 a comprehensive career biography was completed some of which I reproduce below.
During the course of his time in Hyderabad Alexander built a 15 ton L.B. Ice Plant and was solely responsible for its efficient working as well as an aerated water factory which was attached to the plant. He was in control of 50 men and continued to work for his father’s company until 1923.
|Marriage record of Alexander Abid and Winifred Devlin|
Alexander and Winifred never had children but adopted her sister’s children, Barney and Kevin. Barney Devlin recalls: “when my mother was dying from cancer, Alexander and Winifred cared for myself and Kevin. Winifred in her own right was a very vibrant and impressive person, and her personality helped make the Abid Evans very influential in all circles. She was awarded so many awards for her voluntary works including the Kaiser-e-Hind medal. Being great entertainers, all special and important people were always around, both Princesses Durushahwar and Niloufer included. The Abid Evans lived mostly in the Banjara Hills, Alex died in the early 1970s of throat cancer and Winifred some years later either in the late 70’s or early 80s. Both were buried in the Naryanaguda cemetery.”
Betrothed and Jilted by Hugh de Schmid
|The engagement was announced in the Times of London between |
Mr. Hugh Swaine de Schmid and Queenie Abid in March 1912
Prior to the intended date Queenie spent time at the Rectory of Kentisbeare thus allowing her to qualify as a parishioner, although according to Rev. Chalk’s recollections “she did not seem very happy, as if having a foreboding. The marriage was postponed because the bridegroom alleged he had injured his ribs due to the rolling of the ship.” One delay followed another until it was revealed that Hugh had “jilted her and shamefully married someone else in Canada. Queenie never got over it and faded out of public life.”
Aviet Abid to Maria Kurz
|Layout of the Barracks at the Ruhleben camp.|
BERLIN GRŰNEWALD KUNOSTR 49
RL TO ENGLAND 6/11/1915
Annie died on the 4th November 1922 and was buried on the 10th. Her death certificate cites diabetes mellitus and chronic interstitial nephritis valvular disease of the heart, her daughter Queenie was beside her and later registered the death.
|Extract from Annie's Will|
|Two months after Albert's death, Aviet put Dulford House up for sale.|
|The Western Times 20 September 1929|
|Via findagrave.com. In loving memory of Annie Abid (nee Evans) of Dulford House. Died 4th November 1922 aged 72 years. Also of Albert Abid beloved husband of the above died 23rd July 1925 aged 77 years. Peace Perfect Peace.|
And what an interesting journey it was.
AGBU UK Trust.