Shimla is the beautiful capital city of Himachal Pradesh (province) in India, situated on the top of a ridge in the Himalayas. In 1864 the British Raj declared it their 'summer capital'. Col. John Edward Broadbent (1845-1931) lived here at least some of the time, though he would have called it 'Simla'. He and his children, including Esther Broadbent (1873-1959), lived at Woodhall Cottage in Longwood (see below).

Shimla (Simla) is also mentioned several times in the memoir of Esther's mother-in-law Emily Elliott, who travelled there with her husband John.

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Shimla with Christ Church prominently visible. Picture taken ~1887.
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Shimla now (image from

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Christ Church, Shimla, in ~1887.

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Christ Church, Shimla, now (image from

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Shimla, India in the snow.jpg

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Shimla, possibly looking towards Longwood.

Woodhall Cottage

The residence of Col. John Edward Broadbent (1845-1931) and his family. It is in a neighbourhood now called Longwood, almost certainly because John Broadbent's family home in Huddersfield, where he grew up, was called Longwood Edge. DBHB's great grandmother Esther Broadbent (1873-1959) spent some of her childhood here:

John Edward Broadbent 1845-1931, Esther, Vishnu, Mallu, Theo, Mrs Broadbent, Martha Cooke at family house Woodhall Cottage in Shimla India.jpg
(Left to right) Col. John Edward Broadbent (1845-1931), his daughter Esther Broadbent (1873-1959), Vishnu, Mallu, Col. Theodore Broadbent (b.1881), Esther's mother Dora Nicholson (1844-1897), and friend Martha Cooke, at Woodhall Cottage, Longwood, Shimla. Picture probably taken ~1887 (making Esther 14 years old).

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Woodhall Cottage, Shimla, India home of J E Broadbent Chief Engineer in the Punjab.jpg

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Woodhall Cottage from above.


On her blog at, Amu recalls living in this same house, now called Woodalls. She has confirmed that it is the same house, although sadly she also ruled out the possibility that the name on the cupboard door (see below) might be that of Esther Broadbent (1873-1959):

"One of the first things that I saw was the dining room cupboard where my mom kept all the crockery. And someone (probably a girl like me) who had lived in the house at some point of time, had signed her name, her school's name and the year on the inner side of the door, and other children who had lived in that house later had done that too. I promptly looked for some chalk and did the same."