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Papers of Rev. David Steel relating to Kenya

 Single Item
MS. 12580

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Papers of the Rev. David Steel comprising:
  1. papers relating to Kenya, 1953-1956, including accounts of alleged abuses by the authorities; correspondence, including letters from the Colonial Secretary Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Commander of the Kenya Police Arthur Young and the Governor of Kenya Evelyn Baring; memoranda from church leaders in Kenya; with text of lecture delivered by Rev. Steel at the University of Dundee in 1990, 'Kenya - Retrospect and Prospect, a Personal View'
  2. ephemera and papers relating to the Presbyterian Church, 1936-1991, including orders of service, photograph of ministers at the dedication of St Andrew's, Nairobi, St Andrew's Journal, programmes of royal visits including to St Andrew's, scheme of union between the Church of Scotland Overseas Presbytery for Kenya and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, address by Dr Steel as Moderator of the General Assembly in May 1974, and sermon preached at rededication of the old St Andrew's Church, Nairobi, in November 1981
  3. letters of condolence on Rev. Steel's death, tributes and orders of service for funeral and memorial services, 2002
  4. press cuttings concerning Rev. Steel from British and African newspapers including obituaries, 1952-2002


  • 1936-2002


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 12580].
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MS. 12580

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12580


Papers of Rev. David Steel relating to Kenya.

Biographical / Historical

David Steel was born in Lanarkshire in 1910 and educated at Peterhead Academy, Robert Gordon's College and the University of Aberdeen. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1936 and worked in Glasgow and Fife, and as a chaplain in Belgium and Germany during the war.

In 1949 he was appointed to St Andrew's, Nairobi, where he strongly criticised the colonial government's policy during the Mau Mau Emergency and supported Africans' right to independence. During eight years in Kenya he built a new Church of St Andrew's and worked to unite the Presbyterian Church of East Africa and the Church of Scotland Overseas Presbytery for Kenya.

Dr Steel returned to Scotland in 1957 and became minister of St Michael's, Linlithgow. In 1974 he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly in which role he tried to bridge gaps between the Kirk's congregations and bureaucracy. After retiring in 1976 he served as a visiting professor in Atlanta and as locum minister of Kirks in Lausanne, Switzerland, and London. He died in Edinburgh on 11 November 2002.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Lord Steel of Aikwood in September 2017.
Papers of Rev. David Steel relating to Kenya
Finding aid prepared by Lucy McCann
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom