This article explores largely neglected experiences of mixed race children sent to the British Isles focusing on their attachment to, and detachment from, their fathers' communities of origin. The lives of the mixed race Cust children despatched from India in the late eighteenth century to Cumbrian kin and their father's provincial associates provide an intimate rendition of the East India Company's crucial role in British imperial expansion and global experiences. Their lives demonstrate that empire was not simply a company or a national project, but one in which provincial preoccupations, wealth and respectability shaped the inclusion or marginalisation of mixed race children in the British Isles.


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