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Drewett, William H.

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(1842, Bradley, Worcestershire, England - ?)

Brothers Ghose (Aurobindo, Benoy and Manmohan) were in care of Mr. Drewett's family during 1879–87. A clergyman at Calvinist church at Manchester (Stockport Road Church now known as the Octagonal Church), Mr. Drewett was a cousin of a magistrate at Rungpur, Mr. Glazier, with whom Dr. Ghose was on friendly terms. Being in England with all his family, Dr. Ghose left three his sons to care of Mr. Drewett's family. Drewett's two-story house was near Stockport Road Church — at 84 Shakespeare-street. The neighborhood was new and entirely residential. Similar brick houses with similar gardens behind them stood all around. Brothers lived here from 1879 till 1881. Mr. Drewett and his wife had a strict instruction that they should not be allowed to make the acquaintance of any Indian or undergo any Indian influence. These instructions were carried out to the letter and Aurobindo grew up in entire ignorance of India, her people, her religion and her culture.

Aurobindo’s two elder brothers were of school-going age and joined the Manchester Grammar School, while Aurobindo, who was only seven, and probably considered too young to attend a school, was not sent to school, but was taught at home by the Drewetts. Mr. Drewett, an accomplished Latin scholar, grounded Aurobindo in that language very well, and also taught him English, history, etc. Mrs. Drewett taught him geography, arithmetic and French.

In 1881 Mr. Drewett resigned the pastorate of the Stockport Road Church (owing to differences of opinion respecting the erection of a new chapel) and for the next three years he remained in Manchester “without pastoral charge”. The Ghose boys moved along with the Drewetts to a similar house at 29 York Place in Chorlton-on-Medlock, a neighboring residential district. The census of 1881 provide a glimpse of the household: William Drewett, aged 39; his wife Mary, 38; her sister Edith Fishbourne, 22; Drewett’s mother Elizabeth, 68; the three Ghose boys; and two maids. During 1881-1884 Mr. Drewett worked as editor of the monthly Manchester, Salford, and District Congregational Magazine.

In 1884 Mr. Drewett emigrated at Australia. Before his departure, he left the Ghose boys in the care of his mother, Elizabeth, who went with them to London at 49 St. Stephen’s Avenue, Shepherd’s Bush.

There brothers lived till 1887. Old Mrs. Drewett (the mother of Mr. Drewett) was a pious Christian and every day there used to be family prayers. Passages from the Bible were read; the three brothers had to participate. Sometimes the eldest brother used to conduct the worship. One day at prayer time Manmohan was in an insolent mood and said that old Moses was well served when the people disobeyed him. This enraged the old lady beyond measure and she said she would not live under the same roof with heretics as the house might fall down, and she went to live another place to stay and the brothers were left alone, delighted by this turn of events. They kept the flat until September 1887, when they were obliged to find something cheaper.

 

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