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Ernest Gedge Collection

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y30468K

Scope and Contents

A collection of photographs by Ernest Gedge comprising:
(1) 81 prints, probably made in the 1920s. All these prints relate to the Jackson/Gedge Expedition of 1888-91 (see below). 80 are from negatives in the Royal Geographical Society and one from the negatives now in RCS (iii). Some new prints were obtained from the Royal Geographical Society in place of originals which had been stolen.
(2) 1 print not in the above collection and taken from the RGS negative.
(3) 11 glass negatives found in a trunk of photographic material. These relate to the 1888-91 expedition. Prints have been made from some of these.
(4) 21 glass negatives from the same source as (3) from which prints have been taken, recording a later visit to East Africa (?1902) and English domestic scenes (1890s).
(3) and (4) represent only a small fraction of the contents of the trunk, most of which are unidentified photographs taken in England, and which remain unlisted.
(5) 37 lantern slides catalogued at the end of the main listing the majority of which illustrate the 1888-91 expedition. Some were made specially for lecture purposes, some are not in the above list and modern negatives and prints have been made from them and the remainder are duplicates of items in (1) or (3). In two cases the lantern slides of the subject are of better quality than the prints: negatives and modern prints have been taken from these.
(6) Print showing Theodore Roosevelt at the start of his 1909 East African safari.

Ernest Gedge presented a set of 65 prints to the Royal Geographical Society in 1892 (some of which were later destroyed) and a set of 89 negatives in 1935 (still complete). These negatives are those from which photographs in (1) were originally printed and the RGS negative serial number is listed in the body of the catalogue. Gedge often (probably habitually) took 2 photographs of each scene as an insurance against technical mishaps: some negatives in the RGS collection and in (3) closely duplicate others and have not been printed. An album of 68 of Gedge's prints was in the Secretariat Library Entebbe, present whereabouts unknown. Many of these photographs have been reproduced in printed works and where such is the case, this is noted beneath the individual description.

The photographs, mainly contact prints from the original negatives, measure approximately 155 x 120 mm. The captions listed are those written on the reverse of the print by Gedge himself who gave a set (item (1) above) to Frederick Jackson for use in Jackson (1930); Jackson's own photographs having been destroyed in the wreck of his dhow in 1885. Captions for the lantern slides are those written on the slides themselves. The captions have been used as titles and may include language which is offensive, inaccurate or inappropriate. They have been retained to reflect the context of the collection's creation. All additions and captions not by Gedge are placed in square brackets.

Gedge's diary and correspondence are now in Rhodes House Library. The RCS has transcript copies made by Dr. A.T. Matson and these have been used for quotations in the catalogue.

The total number of photographs known to have been taken by Gedge from 1881 to 1891 is 103, as follows;
92 listed as Y30468K/1-92 in the catalogue;
6 Royal Geographical Society negatives not printed, as they closely duplicate existing prints;
3 lantern slides;
1 of the Reverend E.C. Gordon (8 May 1890) known only from a copy in Uganda (Uganda Society 1948, XII, facing p. 128);
1 of the Lake Victoria from Msonga Island (18 August 1890) known only from a diary reference.

The total number of negatives is:
89 Royal Geographical Society
11 Royal Commonwealth Society
No negatives of the photographs of Reverend Gordon and Lake Victoria are known.

In addition to Gedge himself, the following people have been identified in a number of photographs in the collection:
Sir Frederick John Jackson (1860-1929) was educated in Shrewsbury and the Jesus College, Cambridge. In December 1884 he went to Lamu, East Africa as a hunting guest of Jack Haggard and remained in East Africa, hunting and exploring, until 1886 (his expedition of that year was to the Kilimanjaro region). Returning to England in 1887, he joined the Imperial British East Africa Company in October 1888, taking part in the Jackson/Gedge expedition of 1889-90 before returning to the coast, reaching Mombasa in September 1890. Jackson was in charge of the IBEA Co. in Lamu post 1891 and joined Captain J.R.L. MacDonald's railway survey as transport officer in November 1891 but returned to England because of illness in 1892. He was appointed 1st Class Assistant Uganda Protectorate in 1894, acting Commissioner on arrival until 1895, served during the Sudanese Mutiny of 1897 in which he was severely wounded and returned to duty early 1898. Received the Companion of the Order of the Bath 1899, married Aline Cooper in 1904, served under Sir Harry Johnston in Uganda, was appointed Deputy Commissioner, East Africa Protectorate under Sir Charles Eliot in 1902, served a Lieutenant Governor of the East Africa Protectorate 1907-11, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Uganda from 1911 to 1917, when he retired (source: Jackson (1930), Introduction by H.B. Thomas).
James Martin (aka Antonio Martini) (1857-1924), of Maltese origin, was a sailmaker by tradition, joined an American ship from India to Zanzibar where the boat was wrecked. He was a handyman at the Church Missionary Society mission at Freetown then, in 1883-4, accompanied Joseph Thomson through Masailand before becoming second in command of the Sultan of Zanzibar's troops. Martin then entered the service of the Imperial British East Africa Company, accompanying expeditions such as that of Gedge and Jackson and leading caravans. Subsequently he was in Government service and after his retirement managed a rubber plantation. During the First World War he worked in Intelligence and with Belgian ox transport.


  • Creation: 1880 - 1902


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

Ernest Gedge (1862-1935) was the son of the Reverend Augustus Gedge, rector of Ludborough, Lincolnshire, 1854-1909, and his wife Lucy. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth College, Guernsey; Queen Elizabeth School, Ipswich; Rossall School; and the training ship H.M.S. Worcester. He was the assistant manager of a tea estate in Assam, 1879-1888, before joining the Imperial British East Africa Company. Gedge travelled with Sir Frederick J. Jackson on behalf of the I.B.E.A. Co. to Uganda in 1889 making treaties with chiefs and remained in Uganda in 1890 to represent the Company after Jackson left. Gedge placed himself under Lugard on the latter's arrival in Uganda 1891 and was ordered to the coast to recuperate. He was the correspondent for The Times in Uganda, 1892-1893, covering Sir Gerald Portal's mission, and during the Mashonaland campaigns in 1893 although this assignment was curtailed through ill health. He married Caroline Carr in England in 1894 and went on business trips to Bulawayo and Johannesburg, 1895 and 1897. He became Chairman of the Bassiar and Pelly Exploration Company, and went prospecting in the Yukon, 1898-1899. In 1900 he investigated mineral resources at Inyanga in Rhodesia, prospected in Malaya Borneo and Java 1911-12, visited USA and Havana 1912-13 and the Middle East in 1919.


290 item(s) (290 images)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

the prints are generally in good condition, while the condition of the negatives and lantern slides is variable.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

(1) Given to H.B. Thomas by Lady Jackson and in turn presented by him to the Royal Commonwealth Society. (3) and (4) were found in a trunk of photographic material presented by Cuthbert Gedge (son of Ernest Gedge) in 1970. (6) was received with (1) but is probably not by Gedge.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche number 92-93.

Related Materials

A substantial file on the Gedge photographs, including the source of some of the information in this catalogue, and correspondence with Cuthbert Gedge, can be found with RCMS 113/37.


Reproductions of some of the photographs appear in: Brown, Robert (1892-5), 'The story of Africa and its explorers', 4 volumes. London: Cassell and Co.; Gregory, John Walter (1901), 'The foundation of British East Africa', London: H. Marshall and Son; Jackson, Frederick John (1930), 'Early days in East Africa', London: E. Arnold and Co.; Jones, Roger (1972), 'The rescue of Emin Pasha', London: Allison and Busby; Johnston, Harry H. (1902), 'The Uganda Protectorate', 2 volumes. London: Hutchinson and Co.; Lugard, Frederick John Dealtry (1893), 'The rise of our East African Empire', 2 volumes. Edinburgh: W. Blackwood and Sons; Phillipps-Wolley, Clive (1894), 'Big game shooting', vol. 1, London: Longmans, Green and Co.; Stock, Sarah Geraldina (1894), 'The story of Uganda and the Victoria Nyanza mission', London: Religious Tract Society; Uganda Society (various), 'The Uganda Journal', Kampala.


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

Date information

DateText: The dates are approximate..


Gedge, Ernest, 1862-1935, colonial administrator

Includes index.
2004-01-06 15:31:24+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