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Papers of Ernest Gedge


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Letter-books, correspondence, notebooks, press cuttings, notes on expeditions, notes for articles, maps, periodicals, account books etc. relating to the East African Estates Limited, Imperial British East Africa Company, Uganda, prospecting expedition to the Yukon, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Kenya, Russia, Malaya, Borneo and Java. Includes letters from Sir Frederick Jackson and Sir Frederick Lugard.


  • Creation: 1890-1929


6 boxes

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Arabic

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS.Brit. Emp. s. 290].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS.Brit. Emp. s. 290

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 1973

Biographical / Historical

Ernest Gedge (1862-1935) was born in Ludborough, Lincolnshire, England. When he was 17 years old he went to Assam in India to work as an assistant manager on a tea estate. He left India in 1888 when he joined the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC). In 1889, Gedge assisted Sir Frederick Jackson when the latter led the IBEAC pioneer caravan into Uganda. When Sir Frederick Lugard arrived in Uganda, in 1891, Gedge voluntarily placed himself under his command.

During 1892 and 1893, Gedge worked as a special correspondent for the Times. He covered Sir Gerald Portal's mission to settle the religious disputes in Uganda, and in September 1893 reported on the Matabeleland campaigns. In January 1894 he returned to England and in the same year married Caroline Carr. He spent the years 1894 to 1896 in England, with the exception of business trips to Bulawayo and Johannesburg during 1895 and 1896.

Between 1898 and 1899, Gedge was part of a prospecting expedition in the Yukon as Chairman of the Cassiar and Pelly Exploration Company. In 1900 he went to Southern Rhodesia to investigate possible mineral sources at Inyanga. He spent much of 1902 to 1905 in Kenya (on a prospecting expedition in the Pauling Concession, 1902-1903, and working in the coastal regions as manager of the East African Estates Limited, 1904-1905).

Gedge visited Russia during the autumn of 1907 and in 1909 returned to East Africa on a shooting trip with John A. Cox. During 1912 to 1913 he visited Asia (Malaya, Borneo and Java) to examine mineral prospects and land concessions for a syndicate based in London. He also visited Mexico, accompanied by Dr. Hans Sauer, to investigate old silver deposits and disused mines with a view to possible re-opening.

Gedge spent the majority of the years during the First World War in England. He was rejected for military service because he was just over the age limit and instead joined the Special Constabulary. He made one journey to the Far East in 1916 and during 1919 travelled from Basrah to Baghdad with a view to buying and developing land in Iraq and Mesopotamia. Apart from a round voyage to Australia, in 1933, Gedge did not again go further afield than Europe and the Mediterranean.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as no. 75 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968), and as no. 14 in Manuscript Collections (excluding Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1970).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited with the library in May 1965 via the Oxford Colonial Records Project.

Papers of Ernest Gedge
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom