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Diaries of Sir William Himbury

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 404

Content Description

Manuscript diaries written by Sir William Himbury relating to his trips to West Africa in late 19th and early 20th century. Himbury travelled in his capacity as a superintendent of cables and telegrams initially, and later on behalf of the British Cotton Growing Association (BCGA) to gther intelligence on cotton growing and trade. There is also an article on Empire cotton (1905), manuscript notes on the Egba peoples and a folder of biographical notes assembled by the donor.


  • Creation: 1871 - 1955


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright assigned to Cambridge University Library in Nov. 2019 at the point of deposit.

Biographical / Historical

William Henry Himbury was born in Sherborne, Dorset, in March 1871. Having been privately educated, he worked as a superintendent in the cable and telegrams service in colonial West Africa in the 1890s. He joined the British Cotton Growing Association (BCGA) in 1904 as an expert on West Africa, and subsequently went on to become chairman and managing director. He travelled extensively, visiting major cotton-growing countries including India, Uganda, the Sudan and Egypt. In 1918 he was also appointed to the Empire Cotton Growing Committee, a governmental agency established to promote cotton growing in the Empire. He was involved in the establishment of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) in St Augustine, Trinidad, in 1921, and regularly gave evidence to committees on colonial matters. He was knighted in the 1926 Birthday Honours. He married firstly Laura Anne Eversden (d. 1929) and they had three sons and one daughter, and secondly Elizabeth Crapper. He died in Southport in November 1955 aged 84.


0.03 cubic metre(s) (2 archive boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated in two tranches, in Sept. and Nov. 2019, by Vanessa Keay, grand-daughter of Sir William Himbury.

Related Materials

For a photograph album belonging to Himbury, see 'Early views of the Gold Coast', RCS/Y30448U (digitised on Cambridge University Digital Library:
13 of Himbury's travel diaries covering the period 1904-1938 are held as part of the records of the British Cotton Growing Association (BCGA) at the University of Birmingham's Cadbury Research Library.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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