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T.J. Alldridge Sierra Leone collection, 1890s

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y30446F

Scope and Contents

A collection of mounted prints, signed and captioned by Alldridge and measuring approximately 155 x 110 mm. The captions 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. Four prints from the original collection of 35 are missing: 'A young chief, Upper Mendi'; 'A tenketti or hammock bridge over the Sehli River, Kuranko country'; 'A bush path, Upper Mendi'; 'Town drums, Mosaia, Dembella country'.


  • Creation: 1890


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

Alldridge first came to Sierra Leone in 1871 and was until the following year acting United States Consular Agent. For several years he acted as Randall and Fisher's agent on York Island, an early trading post of the Royal African Company situated in the channel between Sherbro Island and the mainland. He entered government service in 1889, from November of which year he acted as one of the two travelling commissioners appointed to make treaties with the Chiefs of the Protectorate, a move designed to extend British influence and forestall the spread of French power in the colony's hinterland. His first extended trip was made in 1890, setting off from Sulima and travelling north-east through the Mendi country to Pendeme. During his second trip the following year, he succeeded in settling a dispute between Kai London and Momo Babawo of Pendembu. In 1894 he was appointed District Commissioner for Sherbro and saw much of the fighting during the Hut Tax War of 1898. He retired in 1905. In addition to his official duties Alldridge was a lively observer of the peoples and customs of Sierra Leone and consistently interested himself in the commercial potential of the hinterland, being particularly impressed by the quality of the country cloth manufactured. His published works contain detailed ethnological and economic descriptions of the country. His two major works were The Sherbro and its hinterland (1901) and A transformed colony: Sierra Leone as it was and as it is (1910). As honorary corresponding secretary for Sierra Leone to the Royal Colonial Institute he also contributed articles to the Royal Colonial Institute Proceedings and United Empire as well as writing the Sierra Leone section for the Oxford Survey of the British Empire. Some of Alldridge's activities are narrated in: Fyfe, C. (1962), A history of Sierra Leone, London: Oxford University Press. A detailed account of his treaty making expeditions can be found in: Abraham, A. (1978), Mende Government and politics under Colonial rule: a historical study of political change in Sierra Leone, 1890-1937, Freetown: Sierra Leone University Press.


1 file(s) (31 images in 1 file)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The photographs are generally in good condition.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche numbers 60-61.

Related Materials

A portrait of T.J. Alldridge can be found in the Royal Colonial Institute Portrait Volumes (vol. .3/164).


The majority of the photographs are used as illustrations in: Alldridge, T. J. (1901), The Sherbo and its hinterland, London: Macmillan and Company. Where this occurs, figure references are noted against each photograph record. All quotations used to describe the photographs are from this volume. His other major work about Sierra Leone is found at: Alldridge, T. J. (1910), A transformed colony: Sierra Leone as it was and as it is, London: Seeley and Co.


This collection level description was entered by KS using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Alldridge, Thomas Joshua, 1847-1916

Includes index.
2003-02-17 15:30:47+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