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Leonard Palmer: photographs of Rhodesia [Zimbabwe]

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3052X

Scope and Contents

An album of photographs taken by Leonard Shaftesbury Palmer, most dated May-July 1912 but collectively covering 1909-13, documenting settler life in Rhodesia, including historical sites (Rhodes' grave, World's View, Matopos; Shangani Memorial, Matopos), scenes in Bulawayo, Marendellas [Marondera], Shangani River, Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River, the Great Zimbabwe complex, some photographs of the northern Transvaal [areas now in Gauteng or Limpopo Provinces] including Pietersburg [Polokwane], concentration camp cemetery and Tzaneen, and some of Beira, Zanzibar and the Suez Canal, presumably taken en route to England. Mostly captioned throughout with place names; individuals generally not identified with the exception of L.S. Palmer himself, [?] Lanning and Francis Blundell senior. 180 pp., approximately 500 images in total. The album is inscribed, 'Leonard S. Palmer, Box 138, Salisbury, Rhodesia, 1912'.


  • Creation: bulk, 1912

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

Leonard Shaftesbury Palmer (1888-1958) was a quantity surveyor by profession. According to family tradition, Palmer was sent to what was then Rhodesia to assist with the design and construction of Cecil Rhodes' grave site in the Matopos Hill [now Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe]. Rhodes had died in 1902; Palmer was in Rhodesia c. 1911-13. Palmer and a colleague lodged with Mabel Georgina Mowbray; Mabel Mowbray was visiting Rhodesia to support her sister who was expecting twins. Leonard and Mabel later married in London in 1916. Palmer was badly gassed at Battle of Passchendaele and was unable to work again.


1 album(s)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The album was treated by Conservation and Collection Care for active mould in April 2018.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Susan Palmer, daughter of Leonard Palmer, in April 2018. Copyright assigned to Cambridge University Library by the donor at the point of transfer.

2019-12-09 14:11:07+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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