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Mombasa to Mengo

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 158

Scope and Contents

66 watercolours, 150 x 200 mm in size. The captions, including the names of institutions, have been recorded as found and may include language which is offensive, inaccurate or inappropriate. They have been retained to reflect the context of the collection's creation. Notes provided by H.B. Thomas have been incorporated into the description.


  • Creation: 1900-01 - 1900-03-31

Conditions Governing Access

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 (

Biographical / Historical

Annie Emma Allen (1853-1942) travelled to Mengo, Uganda in 1900 where she began her career as an honorary missionary with the Church Missionary Society. She formed part of a party including six other missionaries: Albert B. Lloyd and his wife Mary (née Masters), Hugh Savile, Annie Glass (later married Alexander Fraser), Annie Robinson and Ruth Hurditch (later married A.B. Fisher). Allen recorded her journey in a series of annotated watercolours, which provide a vivid impression of the people and places she encountered. RCMS 158/1-8 portray the outward journey to Port Said; RCMS 158/9-19 show Sinai, the Red Sea and Aden; RCMS 158/20-25 were painted in Mombasa and Freretown; and RCMS 158/26-66 illustrate the trek from the coast to Lake Victoria.

From Mombasa, the party travelled upon the East African railway to the end of its line at Kilindini, and Allen painted several very interesting watercolours illustrating work to push it further into the hinterland, at times over extremely rugged, hilly terrain. The missionaries then mounted bicycles, usually completing about 15 miles a day and sleeping under canvas. The final stage to Lake Victoria was completed on foot because of fallen trees and deep ox waggon ruts, which made cycling on the rough roads impossible. The steamboat ‘Ruwenzori’ which had been sent to meet the party was wrecked on the way, so it had to sail across the lake into Uganda in an Arab dhow.

Allen would serve as a CMS missionary in Uganda for the next 25 years, teaching and working in hospitals and dispensaries. She retired in 1926, at the age of 73, and returned to Britain.


1 archive box(es) (1 box) : watercolour

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

good condition.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by the Church Missionary Society through H.B. Thomas in 1962.

Related Materials

An album of watercolours and correspondence written by Allen describing her work may be found in the CMS Archives, held by the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library.


This item level description was entered by MJC.


Allen, Annie Emma, 1853-1942, missionary

Includes index.
2018-05-30 09:40:32+00:00
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