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A.P.G. Austin photographs of the West Indies 1902-1922

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y307I

Scope and Contents

Photographs on three disbound album sheets, relating chiefly to the eruption of Mont Pelé, Martinique, on 8 May 1902 when Austin was sent back to find out what had happened to the members of the Colonial Bank. They are by A.P.G. Austin and others and the majority are small snapshots. Captions have been added, chiefly by comparison with the photographs listed in Y307E. Numbers 1-17 were taken on St Pierre between 11 and 14 May (according to a note on the pages) presumably by Austin, with the exception of number 3. Numbers 1-10 are collodio-chloride prints. Numbers 11-17, all of which are duplicates, are bromide prints. Numbers 17-20 show ships of the Royal Mail Line, possibly those in which Austin travelled.


  • Creation: 1902 - 1922


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

Arthur Piercy Gardiner Austin was born in Barbados on 2 August 1873, the son of John Gardiner Austin, a member of the firm of Cave Shephard and Co., shippers connected with the sugar trade, and his wife Dorothy Frere, née Grant. He was educated at Harrison College, Barbados and was then sent to England where for a time he worked for the firm of Jardine Mathieson. Later he joined the Colonial Bank and returned to the West Indies. In 1902 (May) he was sent back to Martinique immediately after the volcanic eruption which destroyed St Pierre, to find out what had happened to members of the Colonial Bank. On 10 June 1905 he married Louisa Watts, daughter of Sir Francis Watts who became the first Principal of the Royal College of Agriculture in Trinidad. They had four daughters and one son. He and his wife and first child went on leave to England and landed back in Jamaica a few days before the severe earthquake of January 1907, in which the Colonial Bank was damaged and Mr Austin slightly injured trying to save documents from the fire which broke out after the earthquake. He was transferred to British Guiana as manager of the Colonial Bank in Georgetown in 1913 and remained there through the 1914-1918 war. He became a member of the Executive Council of British Guiana. He was transferred to Barbados some time between 1928 and 1930 on his appointment as Local Director for the West Indies of what had now become part of Barclays Bank. Like his brother he was an athlete. He played a fine game of tennis and was in the crew of United Banks who won against Water Street and Civil Service in British Guiana. He retired just before the outbreak of World War II and came to England with his wife, son and youngest daughter. He died in England in 1962.


1 file(s) (21 images in 1 file)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Photographs are in varying conditions. Numbers 11-17 are in faded condition.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given in November, 1985 by Mrs Dorothy Woollcombe, daughter of Mr Austin.

Related Materials

Other photographs of the eruption of Mont Pelé can be found at Y307E.


This collection level description was updated by PJ using information from the typescript catalogue compiled by John Falconer et al. Biographical details were provided for the original catalogue by Mrs Dorothy Woollcombe.


Austin, Arthur Piercy Gardiner, 1873-1962

Includes index.
2002-11-16 10:02:52+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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