The Children of Edward Holden Cruttenden
This 18th-century painting of the children of Edward Cruttenden depicted with their ayah was painted in Britain by Joshua Reynolds. The earliest immigrants from India came to Britain as the servants of employees of the East India Company. Many Indian women came to Britain employed as ayahs or nannies. British families who had spent time serving in India brought an ayah back with them to care for the children on the long journey back to Britain. If they no longer needed their services, they were expected to provide for the return voyage home—many did not. Some ayahs were able to return home to India by advertising in newspapers for a position with a family traveling to India. Some Indian women found themselves permanently stranded in Britain. It was not until 1897 that a home for ayahs was opened in London, providing them with a place to stay until they could get a return passage home.
This source is a part of the Women in the British Empire, 1800-2000 teaching module.