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RCS contains:
<-- See earlier
Y3045V Ugandan Independence
Y30468A-I Rogers Collection on East Africa
Y30468DD-EE Albums of Lt. Col. R.E. Thorne
Y30468J Mombasa and Uganda railway construction
Y30468K Ernest Gedge Collection
Y30468L Mombasa and East African Steamers
Y30468M Communications in East Africa
Y30468N A.R.H. Mann Collection, 1935
Y30468O G.B. Kettle collection on East Africa 1921-1935
Y30468P East Africa: Charles Stokes collection
Y30468Q General photographs of East Africa
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Mombasa and East African Steamers

Title Mombasa and East African Steamers
Reference GBR/0115/Y30468L
Creator Various
Covering Dates 1890–1977 (The dates are approximate.)
Extent and Medium 40 images; All photographs are in good condition unless otherwise stated.
Repository Cambridge University Library: Royal Commonwealth Society Library
Content and context

Collection of loose prints, modern copies of photographs in the archives of the East African Railways Corporation, Nairobi, made for Brian T. Yonge during the 1970s when he was carrying out research into the history of East African Railways and Harbours. The photographs are captioned on the back by Yonge or A.T. Matson. They relate to Mombasa, chiefly in the 1890s, and the steamer transport across Lake Victoria which ended with the extension of the railway in the 1960s. Many were taken by Commander Benjamin Whitehouse, R.N., who was in East Africa in the 1890s and was engaged in the Uganda Railway Survey 1899-1906.

Presented by Mr Yonge through A.T. Matson, circa 1977.

Access and Use

Please cite as Cambridge University Library: Royal Commonwealth Society Library, Mombasa and East African Steamers, Y30468L

Further information



This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche numbers 93-94.

Index Terms
RCS/Y30468L contains:
1 Mombasa from the mainland, pre-1900. 153 x 97 mm. A view looking across the entrance to Mombasa Harbour from English Point and showing the south-eastern tip of Mombasa Island.
Some reflections on the print..
2 Mombasa from the Fort. 129 x 80 mm. A view looking over thatched rooftops towards more substantial building. Good condition. A portion of the harbour, with Frere Town beyond, can be seen in the right background. A note on the reverse states that the area is now the rebuilt junction of Ndia and Vasco da Gama Street, taken during IBEA occupation. 1975
3 Old Town from Fort Jesus, c. 1897-1898. 153 x 112 mm. Indistinct print better photographed in Y30468/4.
A double exposure printed the wrong way round..
4 Mombasa Old Town from Fort Jesus, late 1897 or early 1898. 244 x 82 mm. A panoramic view originally composed of two joined prints looking over the battlements of Fort Jesus and along Ndia Kuu and Vasco da Gama Street. A section of harbour can be seen at the right, with thatched huts at the left, and the station and rolling stock on the Mombasa trolley line in the foreground. The partially built police station is in the centre. Photograph possibly by William D. Young. 1977
5 Sub Commissioner's House, Mombasa, built 1897. 154 x 112 mm. Showing the front façade of the house, built in 1897, with the trolley line and two trolleys.
Some reflections on the print..
6 Former Port Health Office, Mombasa. 107 x 71 mm. A photograph taken in 1976 showing the verandahed exterior. 1976
7 Mombasa [from Fort Jesus?], c. 1890-1895. 120 x 80 mm. View looking over thatched huts and houses, with a larger unidentified house in the foreground. 1975
8 House in Mombasa in which Hobley lived. 203 x 152 mm. View looking across a garden towards a verandahed house. The note on the reverse states that it was occupied by a company employee, John Robert Wilson Pigott (1850-1928), during IBEA Co. times and by Charles William Hobley (1857-1947) when he was Provincial Commissioner of Seyidieh Province (appointed 1912). The house was built on the site of the Katherine Bibby Hospital. 1977
9 Reverend Streeter's House, Frere Town, c. 1878-81. 205 x 125 mm. View of John Radford Streeter (c. 1847-?) standing in front of a corrugated iron and thatch house. He was a CMS lay missionary appointed Lay Superintendant in 1878. He is generally remembered for the brutality of his treatment of Africans under his charge and for his attempt to extend the mission's influence over subjects of the Wali of Mombasa, which drew a rebuke from Sir John Kirk. 1977
10 Police contingent at Frere Town CMS Mission, 1880s. 204 x 128 mm. A blurred print showing a contingent of police commanded by Captain Michael Dowman in a clearing with a group of Africans (probably freed slaves working at the mission) on the right. It is assumed that Michael Dowman is the husband of Harriet Dowman, an African Christian mentioned in W.S. Price, 'My third campaign in East Africa' (1890), p. 85. 1977
11 Frere Town Police, 1880s. 205 x 129 mm. A row of African police on parade. The African in command, at the left, is probably Michael Dowman. 1977
12 Mr J. Martin's House in Ravine Boma, 1898. 138 x 94 mm. A thatched two storey building in the open square with a flagpole in front. For Jimmy Martin, see Y30468M. Photography by Benjamin A. Whitehouse. 1977
13 Nairobi Railway Store, 1898. 111 x 78 mm. The long thatched building which served as a Uganda railway store when Nairobi was selected as the half-way point of the line to Lake Victoria. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
14 Railway Point, Kipevu, 1896. 156 x 109 mm. A view from the Central Africa Railway Base Depot looking across the harbour channel towards the north western tip of Mombasa Island. The Central African line, running seven miles north west of Mombasa on a 2 foot gauge, was shelved when it was realised that a more substantial line (the Uganda Railway) would be necessary. 1977
15 Port Alice, c. 1890-1906. 202 x 135 mm. View looking along the shore at Port Alice (Bukerobe Island) situated in Lake Victoria east of Bukoba. The jetty, compound and houses of the Deutsch-Ostafrika Gesellschaft are in the background. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
16 Ripon Falls from West, c. 1890-1906. 202 x 140 mm. A rather dark print looking across the falls to the far bank of the Victoria Nile. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
17 Sections of the 'William Mackinnon', c. 1895-1900. 202 x 153 mm. Showing prefabricated sections of the steamer which was used for survey work on Lake Victoria. It arrived in parts in Mombasa as early as 1895, but transport difficulties and losses delayed the launching until Nov. 1900. Most of the parts were transported in a large caravan of three thousand loads under the supervision of Reginald Barton Wright, assistant engineer and surveyor. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
18 Building the 'William Mackinnon', 1900. 202 x 142 mm. Showing the partially constructed steamer on the slip-way at Port Florence [Kisumu] with African workers gathered around the hull. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
19 Building the 'William Mackinnon', 1900. 194 x 146 mm. Similar to the preceding print but with supporting scaffolding removed. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
20 'William Mackinnon' slip-way, 1900. 202 x 115 mm. Showing the slip-way, a wooden track resting on stone bedding, entering Lake Victoria at Port Florence [Kisumu]. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
21 Launching the 'William Mackinnon', Nov. 1900. 197 x 145 mm. Showing the 'William Mackinnon' as yet without a funnel, being manoeuvred off the slip-way into Lake Victoria with a crowd of Africans following the boat. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse.
Fading at right hand edge of the original print..
22 The 'William Mackinnon' at Port Florence, 1900. 202 x 145 mm. Showing the completed ship at anchor. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
23 Boat section caravan at Nandi, 1898. 157 x 110 mm. Showing a caravan of mule carts with the stockade of Nadi fort in the background. It carried sections of the 'Vice Admiral', a small sailing vessel used in conjunction with the 'William Mackinnon' for survey work on Lake Victoria. It was constructed at Port Victoria and ready for use in late 1898. Whitehouse supervised the transport from Nadi to Port Victoria. The large survey group under J.W. Blackett, which was exploring the route between Lake Nakuro and Port Florence, split up on 15 Sept. and met again at Port Victoria on 23 Oct. Whitehouse took his party of 83 men to Nandi, where the boat sections were then taken on to Port Victoria (see Whitehouse, 'To the Victoria Nyanza by the Uganda Railway', 'Scottish Geographical Magazine', 18 (1902), 169. 1977
24 The 'Vice Admiral', c. 1898. 199 x 135 mm. Showing the ship under sail with a crew of Africans and a European (Benjamin Whitehouse?) at the helm. 1977
25 'Vice Admiral' before the wind, c. 1898. 200 x 148 mm. View looking along the ship from the stern, taken while sailing on Lake Victoria and showing the African crew resting beside their oars. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
26 'Percy Anderson' at Kilindini [Mombasa], 1896. 201 x 142 mm. Showing the steam tug resting on sand at low tide, with the old water condensers and a flour mill in the background. It was named after the first Chairman of the Uganda Railway Committee, and was the first steam tug in looking, arriving in 1895. After 1903, when construction work in the harbour had eased off, the boat was dismantled and taken to Lake Victoria, where it saw service until 1967, when it was scrapped after 72 years' service. 1977
27 The end of the 'Clement Hill', 'Winifred', and 'Hussein', Bukakata Causeway, Sesse Islands, Lake Victoria, after 1936. 204 x 154 mm. Showing the scrapped hulls of these steamers lined along the waterfront as a breakwater. The 'Winifred' was launched in 1904 and the 'Clement Hill' two years later (the date for the 'Hussein' is unknown). These boats, in company with the 'Winifreds' sister 'Sybil', played a major part in cargo and passenger transport on Lake Victoria until they were scrapped in 1936. 1977
28 Dhow 'Winifred' in Buvuma Channel, c. 1900. 202 x 152 mm. This boat, which flies the Union Jack, is not the same as the 'Winifred' of the preceding print. 1977
29 'Good Intent' at Port Florence, c. 1900. 202 x 154 mm. Showing the small sailing vessel moored at the port. Photograph by Benjamin Whitehouse. 1977
30 'Victoria' at Entebbe, c. 1900. 201 x 144 mm. Showing the small steam launch at anchor. 1977
31 'Livingstone'. 244 x 136 mm. Showing the small steamer with tourists on board. 1977
32 'Grant', c. 1960s. 245 x 190 mm. A rear view of the twin stern wheeler in dry dock. It saw service on Lake Kyoga from 1925-1962, when the opening of the Northern Uganda Railway Extension did away with the necessity for a lake service. 1977
33 'Speke', c. 1960s. 240 x 197 mm. Showing the paddle steamer at her mooring on Lake Kyoga. The vessel saw service on the lake from 1910-1962, being taken out of service for the same reason as the 'Grant'. See also Y3045C. 1977
34 'Stanley', c. 1960s. 245 x 189 mm. Showing the stern wheeler transporting two loaded lighters on Lake Kyoga. In service from 1913-1962, the 'Stanley' was withdrawn on the opening of the Uganda Railway Extension. 1977
35 'Lugard II', c. 1960s. 245 x 188 mm. Showing the paddle steamer transporting a barge on Lake Albert. It was a replacement for 'Lugard I' (1927-1948) and saw service on the lake from 1948-1964. It was the only side paddle steamer used by the Lake service. 1977
36 'Robert Coryndon', c. 1960s. 245 x 188 mm. Showing the steamer moored on Lake Albert. Its career covered 1930-1964. 1977
37 'Usoga', c. 1970s. 245 x 189 mm. Showing the passenger vessel moored to a wharf, probably at Mwanza, with a dhow in the foreground. The steamer was commissioned in 1913 and was still in service during 1976. 1977
38 'Kenia' in sections before being assembled. 194 x 125 mm. Photograph probably taken in England, c. early twentieth century. 1977
39 'Kenia' afloat. 194 x 125 mm. Photograph probably taken in an English river, c. early twentieth century. 1977
40 'Ruwenzori' afloat. 194 x 125 mm. Photograph probably taken in England, c. early twentieth century. 1977

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