Howe collection... Howe collection, c. 1925 - 1941
This collection documents the Howe family's time in Nairobi between 1925 and 1938, and the period shortly after their return to the UK. The photographs and memoirs provide a unique record of life at Mathari Mental Hospital (built in 1910), with its separate African and European blocks, during an interesting period in its history. The photographs also depict the family's travels around Kenya and other parts of Africa, with Wesley Howe's journals providing an explanation of events which are only covered briefly in the photo captions.
The collection also includes a large amount of ephemera, such as souvenir brochures, and printed books collected during the family's residence in Africa. Zeala Howe also recorded an oral history interview with the museum (no. 0209)
Zeala Jean Evelyn Howe was born in London in 1921, two years after her brother Victor Wesley. Her father Wesley George Howe (1889-1961) had been a seaman in his youth before becoming a Registered Nurse; her mother Anstice Teresa (nee Jarvis, 1887-1968, known as Reacie) was a nurse also. In April 1925 Mr and Mrs Howe took up the positions of Superintendent and Matron of Mathari Mental Hospital in Nairobi, which they held until 1938.
Zeala attended Parklands School from the age of five, later becoming a boarder. She was always a keen Girl Guide, and kept up her links with Guiding for the rest of her life. The family returned to the U.K. when Zeala was 17, and she studied Domestic Science at Leicester University. She was keen to return to Kenya after completing her education, but was deterred by the Mau Mau emergency. She became a Domestic Science teacher in the U.K. and settled in Guildford, where she died in 2006.
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