Created by: Torrence RoyerComments are welcome.Please leave a note in the public GUEST BOOKor send a private Email to:Barghash@msn.com
All Rights Reserved, 2000 - 2017
William A. Churchill was the younger brother of the British Counsel at Zanzibar in the late 1860's. He came to the Islands to visit his brother bringing only his talent and his sketch pad.These resulted in some remarkable views of 19th century Zanzibar.
William A. Churchill
The railway depicted in this fine sketch is not the famous Bububu Line, which was built in 1905 and ran north out of town after passing through the N'Gambo neighborhood. Rather it is the very early Tram line that was built by Sultan Barghash in the mid-1800’s.
In this sketch, Churchill captures the image of one of the many business men from around the world who took up residence in old Zanzibar.
The Zanzibar army was not well organized in those days, the Navy having priority on the best resources and men, however it's rather open recruitment practices did cause to the Zanzibar army to become a temporary home for many of the professional soldiers of that age.
Churchill seemed intrigued by the Zanzibar women Zanzibar women, who made up a large percentage of the workforce that kept Stone Town running as a functioning city.
He also noticed that some Zanzibar women appear as powerful figures in Zanzibar society.
Simple street scens, native huts, the plight of the slaves and the spirit of the Sultans troops, all caught the attention of Mr. Churchill.
In the late 1800's Dr. Livingstone was seen as a martyered hero in England. This fine sketch of Livimgstone’s house on Zanzibar may be the work of Mr. Churchill.
Churchill even sketched the British Councils house, where he stayed while in Zanzibar. This house was almost destroyed two years later, during the massive hurricane of 1872.
Churchill exercised some artistic liberty in his drawings (displaying perhaps an Orientalist zeal) but many of his works were remarkably life like. Below are some old Zanzibar photos from about the same time as his visit. His work compares well with these historic scenenes. (These comparison images do not enlarge).
Henry Adrian Churchill was the diplomat William was visiting while in Zanzibar. Henry Churchill was appointed as the British Counsel on Zanzibar in 1867. H. A. Churchill had a long diplomatic career, he seemed interested in helping the people wherever he served. He acted as a friend and mentor for the more famous British Counsel, John Kirk. Dr. Kirk served as Henry Churchill’s surgeon and vice-counsel during the years Henry lived on Zanzibar. Prior to his appointment in Zanzibar the elder Churchill worked as secretary and interpreter on the Staff of the British Commissioner with the Turkish Army in the Asia. He took part in the defense of Kars, and was for a time a Russian prisoner. His last posting was as British Counsel at Palermo in 1879. He died in 1886.After William visited his brother on Zanzibar there was a delay in the publishing of these sketches. Many were not published untill 1889, in the Illustrated London News.
Miss May Allen was a nurse who went to Zanzibar in 1875 and spent the next 12 years caring for the sick from the UMCA clinic in Stone Town. Her sketches and many letters home are informative and touching. Those letters are the basis for a book about her life, by Yoland Brown.
Other Sketch Artists
Old Zanzibar seems to have inspired visitors from all over to create sketches of what some Zanzibaris call ‘the passing show’.
One wonders, in this sketch, if William Churchill captured his brother Henry at work.