Rehan Kularatne, presenting an original essay which has received its title and had highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
My grandmother Hilda Muriel Westbrook was born in Dulwich on 28 November 1895. She was the daughter of Walter Francis Westbrook, later Chief Registrar of the Colonial Office, and Jessie Duncan, a Scottish poet and scholar, the sister of noted (and absolutely dreadful) Celtic Revival painter John Duncan RSA. Jessie Duncan Westbrook was to publish a number of verse renditions of Persian, Sufi and Hindu poetry in the 1910s. She and my great-grandfather, being Theosophists, were both extremely interested in ‘Eastern’ religions.
Hilda was educated at the progressive James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS) in Dulwich. Having excelled in modern languages (French and German) as well as in team sports like hockey (in addition to having Gustav Holst as her music master), she went on to Newnham in Cambridge to do a degree in Modern Languages in 1914, just after WWI broke out. (Though she completed the degree in 1917, she had to wait 30 years to be actually awarded her MA, as Cambridge was the last university in England to accept female graduates.)