Protecting the Archive of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa

The archive held in the bell tower of St. Andrew’s Church in Nairobi (Kenya) includes material produced by two colonial missions, the Church of Scotland Mission to Kenya and the Gospel Missionary Society. This provides information about the highland interior of Kenya at the point of colonial contact.

The Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) is one of Kenya’s largest and oldest churches. Its origins lie in the late-19th century, with the Church of Scotland Mission (CSM) and Gospel Missionary Society (GMS). The PCEA archive is held in the bell tower of St Andrew’s Church, Nairobi along with original CSM, GMS and PCEA material dating from 1900 to the present. The colonial missions and PCEA were key players in the social and political affairs of colonial and post-colonial Kenya and made decisive contributions to debates over land, labour, health, and education. The archive promises to be useful to historians working in a broad range of areas in the history of East Africa.

The collection is stored in very poor conditions and has not been maintained. The room is dark, hot, dusty, and damp, harbouring insects and rodents. These conditions have already destroyed some material.

The project cleaned and organised the archive. The original catalogue was found and cleaned, and was copied into an Excel file. This enabled the team to understand the system of codes and labels on the papers, files and boxes and, ultimately, restore the archive’s original order.

Project Details

Location: Kenya, Eastern Africa, Africa Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): University of Edinburgh Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £11,037 Commencement Date: 01/2016 Project Status: Completed
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