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Occupation of Mashonaland

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3052A

Scope and Contents

Album of carbon prints, originally belonging to Sir Leander Starr Jameson and has his signature. The album contains the results of William Ellerton Fry's work documenting the British South Africa Company's occupation of Mashonaland. It is not known how many copies of this album were produced; fewer than twenty are known to survive. The photographs were reproduced in smaller format but with some introductory matter, by Books of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo in 1982. It may be noted that this gives further variants to the identifications noted under plates 2 and 3. The captions have been used as titles and may contain offensive, inappropriate or outdated terms. They have been retained to reflect the context of their creation.

The photographs include group photographs of the key participants (Ellerton Fry is pictured in Y3052A/2), and the route of the column from Macloutsie in Bechuanaland [Botswana], crossing the river Tuli in Matabeleland, the establishment of Fort Tuli [Thuli], crossing the Umzingwane [Mzingwane], Nuanetsi [Mwenezi] and Lundi [Lunde] rivers towards Great Zimbabwe, the establishment of Fort Victoria [Masvingo], the establishment of Fort Charter in Mashonaland, crossing the Hunyani River and the establishment of Fort Salisbury [Harare].


  • 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

William Ellerton Fry was born in 1846 and left England for South Africa in 1872 and though he returned briefly to England and married, he soon resumed his career in South Africa, his only settled appointment being as Secretary to the Meteorological Commission in Cape Town. In1890 he left this post on the invitation of F.C. Selous to join the British South Africa Company's pioneer expedition to occupy Mashonaland. He had the rank of lieutenant and the duties of intelligence officer and also official photographer. He then resumed an unsettled life in East and South Africa, finally retiring to Cape Town. He died in 1930.


0.01 cubic metre(s) (1 album containing 146 images.)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The album was damaged by flood and has been rebound, with a few damaged prints replaced by copies made from the original negatives by Rhodesia Archives. The damaged originals are preserved in a pocket at the back of the volume.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented to The Royal Empire Society by V.W. Hiller, Archivist of Southern Rhodesia, in 1947.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche numbers 137-39.


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

2006-08-24 11:36:56+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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