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E.A. Rothery Collection on Nigeria 1928-1939

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3043GG

Scope and Contents

Group photograph and amateur snapshots, presumably mostly taken by E.A. Rothery, mounted on 23 card sheets from a disbound album. Unless otherwise noted, the photographs are of varied up to 110 x 70 mm, black and white or sepia.

The photograph relate to Rothery's career as a surveyor up to 1939, and have been captioned by him. The captions have been used as titles and have been recorded as found. Titles composed by the cataloguer are enclosed in square brackets. A few additions, including the identification of individuals from Blue Books and Staff Lists, have been made.


  • Creation: 1928 - 1939


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

Edward Arnold Rothery was born on 12 September 1904 and educated at Lisband High School and Birkenhead School. In 1927-29 he was trained as a surveyor, and appointed to the Survey Department, Nigeria on 21 November 1928. From 1940 to 1946 he served in the Royal Engineers (Major, despatches) then returned to Nigeria; he was appointed a Senior Surveyor on 1 April 1949, and on 15 June 1950 went on leave preceding retirement. His own fuller account of his career is:

1928 to 1940. Engaged on Township Surveys at Ilorin, Lagos, Onitsha. Worked on the tin fields on the Bauchi Plateau also on the gold mines along the Malendo River. Surveyed Ologbo Forest Reserve near Benin City. Engaged on framework traverses. Surveyed quarter sheets of the standard topographical map sheet series, among these UDI, Nkalago, Okigwi, Zaria. Finally in 1939 the last Standard map sheet to be surveyed by ground methods, the Chafe Sheet. This last sheet was finally office checked at the end of 1939. As I was on a Royal Engineer Reserve I went home to England where I was commissioned. Demobilisation occurred from H.Q. 25 Army Group then at Bad Oeynhausen, and I returned to duty with Nigerian Surveys in 1946.

1946 to 1950. Framework traverses in Abeokuta Province. Trading post layouts Kazaure, etc. Acting A.D. Surveys Western (Ibadan) Northern (Kaduna) and finally Eastern (Enugu). In 1950 (?) the Colonial Office stated that they could place an individual on pension before his time or an individual could volunteer to go on pension before the allotted period. This rule was, of course, created to facilitate the handing over of government to the Nigerians. I volunteered to go, and emigrated with my wife, son and Sealyham to Victoria, B.C., Canada in July 1950.

1950 onwards. On arrival at Victoria the Lands and Survey Department of the Provincial Government engaged me in the Photo-grammetrical Department and also to take charge of machine and instrument shop. In 1953 I passed the necessary examinations and became a British Columbia Land Surveyor. In 1955 I accepted an appointment with British Columbia Power Commission (later to become British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority). Most of my service with them was spent on locating transmission lines with a fair amount of legal surveys. In 1962 my wife died and in 1965 I gave up full-time surveying and finally quit all survey work in 1975.

Nigerian Medical History. Bouts of malaria and one of tertian malaria. Two spasms of bacillary dysentry. The second one miles away in bush cured by six teaspoons of epsom salts. One series of precautionary injections for rabies and one full set (three weeks) rabies injections. Collected two of the filaria that cause calabar swellings. One attack of botulism.


.01 cubic metre(s) (173 images) : photograph

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Fair condition, though with some fading.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given by E.A. Rothery through the University of Oxford Development Records Project, June 1982.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche numbers 55-56.


This item level description was entered by SG, NE and MJC using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Rothery, Edward Arnold, b 1904, surveyor

Includes index.
2004-08-16 11:32:40+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom