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RCS contains:
<-- See earlier
Y30447B Views in The Gambia. 1945-51
Y30447D Spicer Simson photographs of the Gambia River Survey 1911-1912
Y30448A Panorama of Accra, circa 1910
Y30448B Accra Post Office. circa 1915
Y30448C Garden party at Old Government House, Cape Coast, March 10th 1916
Y30448D Sir Alan Burns Collection of Gold Coast [i.e. Ghana] photographs, 1940s
Y30448E Portrait of Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg, circa 1920
Y30448F Inauguration of the University of Ghana 25th November 1961
Y30448G Photographs of Ghana and Nigeria
Y30448H Views of Achimota College circa 1945
Y30448I Achimota College (A.W.E. Winlaw collection)
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Sir Alan Burns Collection of Gold Coast [i.e. Ghana] photographs, 1940s

Title Sir Alan Burns Collection of Gold Coast [i.e. Ghana] photographs, 1940s
Reference GBR/0115/Y30448D
Creator Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Ministry of Information. West African Photographic Service
Covering Dates 1940–1980
Extent and Medium 10 images; good condition.
Repository Cambridge University Library: Royal Commonwealth Society Library
Content and context

A collection of loose prints measuring approximately 195 x 160 mm, with brief captions supplied by Sir Alan Burns. The collection relates to Sir Alan's period as Governor of the Gold Coast.

Sir Alan Cuthbert Burns (1887-1980) was the son of James Burns, Treasurer of St Christopher-Nevis and himself served in the Leeward Islands Colonial Civil Service from 1905-12 and in the Nigeria Civil Service 1912-24; from 1924-29 he was Colonial Secretary of the Bahamas and administered the Government on several occasions. He returned to Nigeria as Deputy Chief Secretary to Government from 1929-34 and was Governor of British Honduras from 1934-40; after a period as Assistant Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies he served as Governor of the Gold Coast from 1941-47. From 1947-56 he was Permanent U.K. Representative on the Trustee Council of the United Nations.

Presented by Sir Alan Burns in 1980.

Access and Use

Please cite as Cambridge University Library: Royal Commonwealth Society Library, Sir Alan Burns Collection of Gold Coast [i.e. Ghana] photographs, 1940s, Y30448D

Further information

In the course of his career as a colonial administrator Burns wrote two standard works on British overseas territories, and his memoirs: Burns, Alan Cuthbert (1929), 'History of Nigeria', London: G. Allen and Unwin, Ltd.; Burns, Alan Cuthbert (1954), 'History of the British West Indies', London: Allen and Unwin; Burns, Alan Cuthbert (1949), 'Colonial civil servant', London: Allen and Unwin.


This item level description was created by MJC using information from the original typescript catalogue.

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche number 64.

Index Terms
Ministry of Information. West African Photographic Service
RCS/Y30448D contains:
1 Governor's Office, Christiansborg Castle. 159x195mm. View, framed by an archway, looking towards the two storeyed building which served as the Governor's Office. The crenellated building flies the Union Jack. From its start as an unimportant trading lodge built by the Swedes outside Accra in 1652, the site at Christiansborg underwent an impressive expansion; it was probably occupied by the Dutch in 1660, and taken the following year by the Danes, who built the fort named after King Christian V. The development of Danish trade in West Africa in the course of the following century increased the importance of the fort and numerous accretions resulted, built onto the original stone foundations; most of these were, however, destroyed in the earthquake of 1862. The Danish possessions had been purchased by the British in 1850 and some of the upper storeys of the castle were replaced by wooden buildings. Further rebuilding took place when the castle ceased to be a lunatic asylum and became Government House in 1900. In 1950 the Public Works Department commenced a general reconstruction to restore the outlines of the original fort in the upper storeys. For a more detailed history, see A.W. Lawrence, 'Trade castles and forts of West Africa' (London, 1963), pp.199-217. 1940–1947
2 Governor's Office, Christiansborg Castle. 206x154mm. Similar view to Y30448D/1 but a more general view taken from a greater distance and showing all of the double arch which frames that photograph. 1940–1947
3 Dining Room, Christiansborg Castle. 200x152mm. General interior view of the dining room, looking across the tables towards the sideboard and the portrait of King George V which hangs on the further wall. The ceiling of the room is barrel vaulted in wood panelling supported on pairs of square columns running along the side of the room. The date 1917 is carved in the panelling above the royal portrait. Above the dining table a 'punkah' type fan is suspended with a system of pulleys for operation. 1940–1947
4 Governor visiting customs post on Togoland border. 206x152mm. Group portrait showing Sir Alan Burns standing in the centre of a squad of uniformed African members of the Customs Service. The men wear shorts and sweaters bearing the legend 'H.M. Customs Preventive Service'. 1940–1947
5 Gold Coast Victory march past, Accra, 1945. 118x166mm. Showing Sir Alan Burns, in full uniform, arriving to take the salute at the Victory march past to celebrate the end of World War II. The official caption with the photograph reads: 'Following Victory in Europe Day, thousands of people gathered in front of the Supreme Court to witness the grand march past of units of the Army, Navy, RAF, a platoon of the United States Women's Army Corps, Schoolchildren, Fire Brigade, Warders of His Majesty's Prisons, General and Escort Policemen. His Excellency the Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Alan Burns, K.C.M.G., took the salute. Attending the ceremony were several high ranking officers including the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, West African Force, Lieut-General M. Brocas Burrows, C.B., D.S.O., M.C. The front of the Supreme Court was decorated with the flags of the United Nations and a large illuminated Victory Sign.'. 1945
6 Governor at Durbar ?Kumasi, 1946. 193x142mm. Showing Sir Alan Burns on a parade field, with an African bringing up behind him a large ceremonial umbrella, and with other official figures standing in the background. The group is probably watching a march past of some kind, but this is out of print. The photograph may have been taken at the Kumasi Durbar of 12 December 1946, but this is not positively stated. 1946
7 A Hausa Chief greets the Governor, Kumasi Durbar, 12 December 1946. 202x153mm. Showing a Hausa chief bowing to the ground in front of Sir Alan Burns and other colonial officials in an open-sided marquee at Kumasi. 12 Dec. 1946
8 Kumasi Durbar ?12 December 1946. 175x118mm. Showing an African entourage, probably at the 1946 Durbar, with a European seated in the foreground. A group of servants hold ceremonial umbrellas above the chief African figures. The central figure in the group appears to be Sir Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II (1892-1970), Asnatehene from 1935-70, although he is not specifically identified. 1946
9 Map of Nigeria. 201x155mm. Photographic reproduction of an illustrated map of Nigeria bearing the dedication 'To E.R.J. Hussey C.M.G. Director of Education, Nigeria 1929-1936, from A.D. Power ('Fidus Achates') in memory of many happy days spent together within the confines of this map.'. 1940–1947
10 Portrait of Sir Alan Burns, 1940s. 113X156mm. Modern copy of a head and shoulders studio portrait of Sir Alan Burns in full uniform with medals. 1960–1980

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