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Correspondence of Kenyan settlers, Robert Hall and Ione Minnie Hall (née Varley)

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 413

Content Description

The collection comprises letters between Robert and Ione Hall, and between the Halls and Ione's parents, Cromwell Oliver Varley and Minnie Caroline Varley, 1921-1938, relating to life in Kenya, the purchase of various properties, Robert and Ione's separation and the eventual breakdown of their marriage. The correspondence concerns the purchase of land in Gilgil and Naivasha from 1917, farming life in the 1920s and 1930s, growing of flax, wheat and wattle, as well as dairy farming, interactions with African employees, farmers' meetings and settler life as well as details relating to the couple's son, Peter, born in 1921. The correspondence reflects the couple's periods of separation between England and Kenya in 1921-2, 1924, and 1928 onwards.


  • Creation: 1915 - 1938

Biographical / Historical

Robert Hall, possibly a wounded WWI veteran, married Ione Minnie Varley (b. 1885) in September 1915. Ione was the daughter of Cromwell Oliver Varley and Minnie Caroline Varley (née Draper). Cromwell Varley and his stepfather, Ion Hanford Perdicaris, were kidnapped in 1904 in Tangier, Morocco, in what was referred to as the ‘Perdicaris affair’. Robert and Ione Hall settled in Kenya in 1917 and, financed largely by the Varleys, purchased farms in Gilgil and Naivasha. Their son, Peter Hall, was born in England in 1921. By the late 1920s, Robert and Ione’s marriage had started to disintegrate, and Ione increasingly spent time in England. In the early- to mid-1930s, the couple started divorce proceedings which were much complicated by the issue of ownership of the properties in Kenya and the monies loaned by the Varleys. Ione and the couple’s son, Peter, settled in England; Robert Hall remained farming in Kenya and was murdered in 1951 at his farm in Ol Kalou.


0.02 cubic metre(s) (2 archive boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased by Mrs Barbara Abensur from Hansons Auctioneers and gifted to the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) in June 2022. Two boxes of material relating to Ione M. Hall (nee Varley) presented to Cambridge University Library per Barbara Abensur on 15 November 2022.

Related Materials

Material relating to Ion Perdicaris, the 'Perdicaris affair' and the wider Perdicaris family is held at the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) in Tangier, Morocco:

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom