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A journey to Asia and Africa

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3011MMM-XXX

Scope and Contents

A collection of albums, containing captioned black and white photographs, taken by one, or more, people travelling in the same group. The albums form a photographic account of a six-month long touring holiday.

Of the albums, the first ten are all of the same style and manufacture and each has an embossed title on the front. They follow the journey chronologically. The remaining two contain a smaller selection of images from the same journey, again in chronological order. They are titled as follows;

Y3011MMM London-Dutch East Indies-Malaya-Penang-Hong Kong. Ceylon
Y3011NNN East Indies, Penang and Ceylon
Y3011OOO China-Japan
Y3011PPP Japan
Y3011QQQ India
Y3011RRR India
Y3011SSS India
Y3011TTT India
Y3011UUU India
Y3011VVV Sudan-Egypt
Y3011WWW Tour 1935-36
Y3011XXX (untitled)

No supplementary information was provided, therefore cataloguing has been carried out by using the captions in the albums. The photographs are, in the main, holiday snapshots of places of interest, street scenes, daily activities and candid portraits. Dates are provided in some of the captions and so it has been possible to plot an approximate route, outlined below.

A group of at least five people undertook the journey, although there are other people pictured and identified in the captions. Those who travelled in the main group have, for the most part, been identified by initials only but they share the last initial ‘L’ which investigation has shown to stand for 'Lawrence'. Identification of others is not made clear in group photographs. At least two cameras were taken as Y3011MMM/53 shows one of the party in the act of taking a photograph. Given their similarity in style, it is likely that the photographs were taken, in the main, by one member of the group but that the cameras were passed around as there is not one photograph containing all five.

The individuals pictured are as follows;

Charles Trevor Lawrence ('C.T.L.') - aged 56, appears in a group photograph at Victoria Station, on the crossing to Calais, in Venice, on the outbound voyage to Bombay, in Bali, China and Japan.
Adeliza Lawrence nee Donnelly ('A.L.'), wife of Charles - exact age unknown but appears middle-aged, appears in the group photograph at Victoria Station, on the crossing to Calais, in Venice, China and Japan.
John Trevor Lawrence ('J.T.L.'), nephew of Charles - aged 27, appears in the group photograph at Victoria Station, on the crossing to Calais, in Venice, on the outbound voyage to Bombay, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, India and Sudan.
Peter Stafford Hayden Lawrence ('P.S.H.L.'), brother of John - aged 22, appears in the group photograph at Victoria Station, on the outbound voyage to Bombay and in India. There is also a photograph of ‘P.S.H.L.s bedroom’ at the hotel in Bandung.
Ruth Christian Buxton nee Lawrence ('Ruth' and 'R.C.B.'), sister of John and Peter - aged 31, appears in photographs in Sudan and on a steamer on the Nile with ‘John’.
'John' - male in his twenties or thirties (probably John Trevor), appears in a photograph on the outbound voyage to Bombay and on a steamer on the Nile.
'N.L.' - middle-aged female, appears in the group photograph at Victoria Station, in Venice, Bandung on Jawa and India.
Mummie - presumably female, her hand appears in a photograph in India.
B.M.R. - gender not known, appears only in the group photograph at Victoria Station.
Colonel and Mrs Gordon Donnelly appear only in the group photograph at Victoria Station.
Dr C Vere Nicholl appears only in the group photograph at Victoria Station.
Sir Reginald Glancy appears only in the group photograph at Victoria Station.
C.R. - is mentioned only in photographs captioned ‘... leaving S for Colombo’.
O. Buxton, Morgan, Peterkin and Mackintosh all male, appear in a photograph of a polo team in Sudan.

In respect of those who do not seem to have been part of the main travelling party, with the exception of Sir Reginald Glancy, nothing is known. Sir Reginald Isidore Robert Glancy (1874-1939) was a member of the Indian Civil Service within the political department working in the princely states of India. He was elder brother of Sir Bertrand James Glancy (1882-1953), who was also an administrator in India.

The travellers set out from Victoria Station on 10th September 1935, journeying down to Dover by Southern Railways before crossing the channel to Calais on the ‘TSS Canterbury’. From Calais, the party boarded the Orient Express train, which took them to Venice, from whence they departed on the Italian owned steamer ‘Conte Verde’ on 11th September. The journey then took them, via Brindisi, across the Mediterranean Sea to Port Said on 14th September, and along the Suez Canal (Qanat as-Suways). There are references to passing Ismailia (Al-Isma`iliyah in Egypt) on 16th September, Massaura (Mitsiwa in Eritrea) on the 17th and Aden (`Adan in Yemen) on the 19th, before entering the Gulf of Suez (Khalij as Suways) and the Red Sea.

The next photographs are dated 23rd September in Bombay, then Colombo on 25th before arriving in Singapore on, or around, 29th September. After this, the party sailed on the ‘SS Plancius’ to Batavia (Jakarta) on 4th October, travelled the length of the island of Java (Jawa) and sailed from Sourabaya (Surabaya) to Boeleleng (Singaraja) on Bali, aboard the ‘SS Merak’ around 12th October. After visiting several sites on Bali, they sailed back to Sourabaya by 17th October, to Jakarta on the 19th, before returning to Singapore, all on the ‘SS Ophir’. Although the route is unclear, the next photographs place them in Penang (Pinang), Malaysia, from 22nd to 25th October, and then Kuala Lumpur before returning to Singapore on the 27th.

The journey then took them by the Italian ship ‘Conte Rosso’ to Hong Kong on 2nd October and then Shanghai where they stayed from 4th to 7th October. The party travelled inland to Nankin (Nanjing) and Pekin (Beijing), visiting the Great Wall of China near to Beijing, on 11th November. From here, they travelled around Manchukuo (Manchow) before returning south to Keijo (Seoul) in South Korea. Next stop was Japan, where they took in Miyajima, Kobe, Osaka, Naro, Kyoto, Numazu and Lake Hakone before Tokyo around 25th November. On 27th November, photographs place them in Nikko, then viewing Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) on the journey between Yokohama and Kobe on the 29th before travelling south and departing Japan from Nagasake (Nagasaki).

The party then sailed via Hong Kong, where they were on 8th December, arriving at Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on 16th December. After visiting various sites around the interior of the island including Kandy, where they attended a Christmas party, they sailed from Talai-Mannar (Talaimannar) to Mandapam, Tamil Nadu. The next date entry is in the south of India, en route to Madura (Madurai), on 25th December 1935. The journey proceeded northwards through Trichinopoly (Tiruchchirappalli), Madras (Chennai) and Hyderabad (in Andhra Pradesh), with the party seeing in the new year at Bombay. From there they travelled to Indore where, in addition to exploring the surrounding area, it seems that at least one of the group attended the Indian Science Congress. The party moved on to Udaipur and then were in Jaipur on 11th January 1936.

The exact order of the next leg of the trip is unclear. We know that they visited Fatehpur Sikri, Agra (on 15th January), Meerut, Lucknow (on the 16th and 17th), Cawnpore (Kanpur), Benares (Varanasi) and Sarnath. After staying in New Delhi between 22nd and 26th January, the group then took the train north all the way to the Khyber Pass on the border between what was then India (now Pakistan) and Afghanistan, stopping off at Amritsar, Lahore and Peshawar. Returning to New Delhi by the same train route, they then headed to Bombay via Jodhpur, Mount Abu and Baroda (most likely the one in Gujarat) on 14th February. On 15th February 1936, the party left Asia, sailing from Bombay on the ‘SS Mongolia’.

The next photographs are taken in Sudan on the railway between Port Sudan (Bur Sudan) and Khartoum. After visiting a few places south of Khartoum, on or around 6th March, the journey continued northwards to Wadi Halfa and then by boat up the Nile River, taking in the historical sites at Abu Simbel (Abu Sunbul), Luxor, Thebes and Karnak. Within the final set of (undated) photographs are images taken aboard the ‘SS Strathmore’ whilst at sea, at Marseilles and Gibraltar, including some on the bridge and in the engine rooms. It seems, therefore, that the party joined this boat in, presumably, Alexandria or Port Said, and sailed across the Mediterranean to where the final photographs were taken in those ports before returning home to England.

There are two photographs within the whole collection that seem to be at odds with the journey description. Y3011MMM/47 is a picture of a car on a page captioned ‘Colombo, Ceylon’. The photograph is captioned ‘Government House, Oct. 2nd’. It may be that the date in this caption is a mistake. Y3011QQQ/78 is of a street and is placed on a page captioned ‘Madras, India’. The photograph is captioned ‘Street scene. 28.5.35’. Again, this could be a mistake or the photograph was taken on a different visit to Madras.

At least twice during the trip it seems that the party stayed in Government Houses, or at least had use of some of their facilities (Colombo and Lucknow), and they were guests of several Indian Maharajas (Indore, Dhar, Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur). They also attended a lunch at Viceroy House, New Delhi on 25th January 1936, and wrote their names in the Visitors’ Book. There is also one reference in India to their ‘special carriage being attached to (the) express from Adaipur’.


  • Creation: 1935-09 - 1936-03


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

Peter Stafford Hayden Lawrence was born on 9 February 1913 and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He became an Assistant Master at Eton College in 1936 remaining in that post until 1977, with a period as House Master between 1951 and 1968. Between 1939 and 1945, he served as a Radar Officer at the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. In 1940, Peter Lawrence married Helena Frances Lyttelton and they had six children. Peter Lawrence is heir presumptive to Sir William Fettiplace Lawrence, 5th Baronet of Ealing Park.


12 album(s) (1739 images in 12 albums)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

All albums and photographs are in good condition, although a few are slightly faded.

Former / Other Reference


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The albums were given to the Royal Commonwealth Society by Peter Stafford Hayden Lawrence. There is no record of the date of this donation.


This collection level description was entered by SG.


Lawrence, Peter Stafford Hayden, b 1913

Includes index.
2005-01-25 15:25:16+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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