In the crowd of Shimla, there was a man called William Henry Carey. He was one of the Brits who loved Shimla. They lived here and remained an essential part of the Shimla Society. They contributed in their way as per their capacity. Many of them made use of their natural qualities and made it their line of action. Year in and year out, they remained busy in their work and inspired others and the generations to come. There were engineers, architects, designers, artists, government servants, army officers, property owners, painters, writers, and authors. Most of them spent a big part of their life in Shimla and became a part of the society. It was due to their passion for their professions.

The Watchman in London Street who inspired Ceray

His parents named him William Hanry Carey, after his Grandfather William Carey, a missionary who had arrived in Calcutta in 1770. He established a college and a university in Serampore which are still going on. Carey was born in Indonesia in 1817. Then his parents took him to London. The habit of getting up early morning had come to him from the watchman in London.  He used to arrive in the lane outside his house holding his lantern at four in the morning and give a call. In those days, the forests around Jakhu and other parts of Shimla were full of wildlife. In Shimla, Carey, an early riser, would get up at four in the morning, before dawn. He never missed his five miles of morning walks in the woods.

Charlotte Carey, his wife was always there with him

Carey arrived in Shimla in the 1860s and remained here for most of his life. Here he was the editor of the Times of India and also the superintendent of the Adjutant General’s Press. His wife Charlotte M. Carey remained with him and spent most of her time supporting her husband in his writing and publishing work. She died in Simla in Argyle house in 1886 and is resting in the Cemetery in Kanlog. On her grave, there is an inscription that talks about her commitment to her husband to her family. It reads, ‘The faithful wife for forty years of W. H. Carey.

William Hanry Carey and his wife Charlotte.

Carey started the first Simla Weekly as ‘Simla Argus’

Carey was the first one to start Shimla’s first weekly newspaper called ‘Simla Argus’. The newspaper covered everything that was not in favor of the town. Carey, himself, would go around the town to collect information. Many times he pulled the legs of the Shimla Municipality. His granddaughter, Alice Elizabeth Dracott, wrote an article about him. It is there in the picture above. Alice was the writer of Simla Village Tales. Carey in Shimla spent most of his life writing books, and articles and editing his newspaper, in his room which was full of books and journals. Carey built the first Non-Conformist Church of Shimla where presently St. Andrew’s Church is located below the temple of Kali Bari. Most of the money was spent by him on this work. His most famous book was A Guide to Simla which he published in 1870.

Properties of Carey and the First “Day School” of Shimla

With his wife, Charlotte’s help, the couple built many houses in Shimla. They were Melville Lodge estate on Jakhu, Balmoral, Eglantine, Argyle House, Boxmore Cottage, and Comley Bank below Kennedy Chowk, facing Annandale. Melville Lodge and Comley Bank are still there. Charlotte started a day school for all kids in Shimla. The school did very well and students of all genders from the entire community, Indians, and Europeans joined it. There is no evidence of where she opened the school. Later many other residents opened some other schools. They were Mrs. Perry’s School at Dahlia Lodge, Mrs. Mackay’s school at Little Hope Cottage, and Mrs. Pink Stone’s at Airthire. What happened to those schools later is not known.

Gillian Helwig, a descandant of Carey

The only photo of Carey and his wife I could find is the one that is published in the article and I have taken the liberty of using it here. The information was provided to me by one of my clients Mrs. Gillian Helwig from the USA who was here in Shimla looking for the grave of her grandmother, Alice Elizabeth Dracott. Alice was a writer too and is known for her famous book Simla Village Tales. The book is still available in the store. She was the direct descendant of Carey and for most of her life lived in Shimla.

By . . . . . . . .  Sumit Raj

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