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Rorke's House, Rorke's Drift, 1879 - 1880

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3058A/35

Scope and Contents

208 x 131 mm. Showing the storehouse at Rorke's Drift which became the final stronghold after the hospital had been abandoned. Originally built by Jim Rorke, at the time of the campaign the buildings were occupied by a Swedish Missionary Otto Witt and his wife and child (Witt and his family had left, separately shortly before the Zulu attack), the storehouse seen here being his chapel and the hospital his living quarters. This week was taken some weeks after the fight, the solid, loopholed stone rampart not having been built at the time of the battle. With the advance of the central column across the Buffalo into Zululand, the Mission Station was taken over as the column's hospital and commissariat store. After the crushing defeat of Glyns's Column in the camp beneath Isandhlawana, a Zulu impi approached Rorke's Drift from the south-east under Dabulamenzi, commander of the Undi Corps, probably acting against specific instructions from Cetshwayo not to enter the British territory, Dabulamanzi's impi, having had little taste of action after being delegated to cut off fugitives at Isandhlawana rather than to fight the main action, attacked the post on the afternoon of 22 January 1879. The ensuing battle, lasting into the small hours of the following day, was one of the truly heroic actions in nineteenth century military history. Before the exhausted Zulu forces abandoned the attack probably 400 or 500 of their number had been killed. No less than eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded among the 140 defenders (thirty of whom were incapacitated in the hospital). The print is stamped 'Lloyd Artist Natal.' [James Lloyd]


  • Creation: 1879 - 1880


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Good condition.

Related Materials

For views of the battlefield at Isandhlawana, see Y3058A/42-43. For a view of Dabulamenzi (Cetsawayo's half-brother) see Y305A/21.




Lloyd, James, fl 1879, photographer

Finding aid date

2004-10-05 16:25:56+00:00

Includes index.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom