Homes for Indian nannies


  • Intro

    In 1900 the Ayahs’ Home for Indian and Chinese nannies was opened in Hackney at 26 King Edward Road, Mare Street. Run by the London City Mission, it had 30 rooms for more than 100 ayahs.


    Ayahs were employed by British families to look after their children on the sea voyage home. On arrival in Britain, they were often discharged and left to find their own passage back to India. Such mistreatment led to the setting up of the Ayahs’ Home. The Home provided accommodation for ayahs awaiting their return engagement as well as a refuge for ill-treated and stranded ayahs.


    The ayahs were seen as ‘picturesque’ by the public, while missionaries treated them as ‘children’ to be ‘saved’ by Christian teaching. Ayahs were seasoned travellers: some, like Mrs Antony Pareira, made the journey over 50 times.

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