This collection loosely spans the 45 year period in which George "Jim" Grundy and his family made their home in East Africa.
The photographs mainly date from the 1920s, George's first decade in Kenya, and depict his early business interests, travels around the area and his many contacts, including his friend and later wife Jean. A later series of images depicts his mining operations in Tanzania and Kenya pre and post WW2.
The documents which were donated alongside the images largely relate to George and Jean's life in Tanzania after WW2. Elizabeth Grundy also gave an oral history interview to the former British Empire & Commonwealth Museum (no. 927).
Elizabeth Grundy was born in Nairobi in 1928, the second child and only daughter of George and Jean Grundy. After boarding schools in Naivasha and Limuru, she spent 1946-1947 working with the architect Dorothy Hughes in Nairobi. This experience was enough to gain her a place at the Oxford School of Architecture, graduating in 1952.
Elizabeth returned to Nairobi, but left after a year because of the worsening political situation, joining her parents in Tanzania. She returned to the UK for good in 1963, describing herself as feeling less safe and free following independence. Settling in Southampton, Elizabeth worked as an architect until her retirement. She died in July 2019.
The majority of the material in this collection was created by Elizabeth's father, George Leslie Orde Grundy. Known as Jim and sometimes also GLOG, he was born in Oxford in 1893. He trained as an engineer with Vickers, before serving in Gallipoli and France during WW1, reaching the rank of major. In 1920 he emigrated to Kenya, working for Vickers in their Nairobi office but also developing numerous other business interests. One of these was the Rongai Engineering and Wagon Works, which he set up with Hugh Nightingale, his future brother-in-law, on Lord Egerton's estate.
In 1923, Jim married Jean/ Jeanne (the spelling is used interchangeably even on official documents) Upham Franklin. She had come to Kenya in 1919 with her parents, Colonel William and Mrs Sarah Franklin, and siblings. The family were natives of Newfoundland, where William, born in Liverpool, had settled as a merchant in 1891. He took up the post of H.M. Trade Commissioner to East Africa after being advised that a warmer climate would provide better therapy for injuries he'd sustained in WW1. Jean's sister Mona later married Jim's friend Hugh Nightingale.
When Jean returned to Kenya in 1926 following her first child Michael's birth in the UK, Jim was engaged in constructing a family home at Ol 'Oreshet, Nakuru. He later worked briefly for Texaco in Dar-es-Salaam in 1930, before joining the Kakamega gold rush in 1931. This led to a career in mining: after a period prospecting on the islands in Lake Victoria, Jim staked a claim at Kiabakari mine near Musoma in Tanzania, where he worked until joining the Royal Engineers at the start of WW2, seeing service in Europe and East Africa. He was also the Member of Legislative Council for Musoma District during this period. Jean closed the mine and returned to Kenya to spend the war on the Nightingales' farm on the Kinangop, while both sisters' husbands were away fighting.
When the war ended, Jim started up a diatomite mine on Lady Eleanor Cole's farm with Arthur Cole in partnership. This venture was short lived, and the family subsequently returned to Tanzania where Jim traded goods up the coast in his own dhow, until the boat sank off Zanzibar in 1957. They lived in Pangani, and in 1952 he also started a boat building and ironmongery business, specialising in wrought iron security grilles. Jim and Jean took Tanzanian citizenship after independence, but returned to the UK in 1974 to spend their retirement with Elizabeth. Jim died in 1975 and Jean in 1982.
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