Monday, 8 February 2021

Eva Shaw McLaren (1866 - ) – British writer and younger sister of Dr. Elsie Inglis

Was Eva also a poet - that is the question 

I have not been able to discover much about her but it seems that Eva was born on 13th July 1866 in Naini Tal, Bengal, India.  Her parents were John Forbes David Inglis and his wife, Harriet Lowis Inglis, nee Thompson. 

An article by Hamish MacPherson about Dr. Elsie Inglis suggests that Eva was Elsie’s younger sister -

“Her younger sister, Eva Helen, would later become Eva Shaw McLaren and write her big sister’s biography, “Elsie Inglis, The Woman With the Torch”, on which my account of Elsie greatly relies.”

Dr. Elsie Inglis

In the book Eva wrote about Dr. Elsie Inglis -  “Elsie Inglis The Woman with the Torch” by Eva Shaw McLaren, with a preface by Lena Ashwell (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1920) – we find this poem:

Great souls who sailed uncharted seas,

Battling with hostile winds and tide,

Strong hands that forged forbidden keys,

And left the door behind them, wide.

Diggers for gold where most had failed,

Smiling at deeds that brought them Fame,—

Lighters of Lamps that have not failed,—

Lend us your oil and share your flame.

Was the poem written by Eva?  I have not been able to find out anything more about Eva.  If anyone can help please get in touch.  


John Forbes David Inglis and his wife, Harriet Lowis Inglis, nee Thompson. had six children in their 'first family' George David (b 1847), Amy (b 1848), Cecil (b 1849), Hugh (b 1851), Herbert (b 1853) and Ernest (b 1856).[6] In 1856 John Inglis arranged to take the family home to Britain for a period of leave of three years. This proved to be a prolonged journey which took 4 months to reach Bombay and a further 4 moths by sailing ship round Cape Hope to reach England. He was recalled early to India in 1858 because of the Indian Rebellion and returned leaving his family in Southampton. George, Hugh and Herbert were sent to school at Eton, Cecil to Uppingham and Ernest to Rugby, while Amy was looked after by relatives. Once they were settled and events in India were back to 'normal', Harriet Inglis returned to India in 1863 and they had the 'second family' of three further children, Eliza Maude (known as Elsie) (b 1864), Eva Helen (b 1866) and Horace (born 1868). Elsie Inglis, who became the most famous of the children, was born in the Himalayan hill station town of Naini Tal, in the state of Uttarakhand, When the Inglis family moved to Tasmania the Inglis girls were tutored by Miss Knott, a disciple of Dorothea Beale, a pioneer of education for women.