Papers of Revd. Howard Church

Scope and Content

Reports, memos, and speeches by the Reverend Howard Church relating to the Athi River Camp and Mau Mau rehabilitation.

Administrative / Biographical History

Howard Joseph Church (1904-1984) left school to work in London for Church & Sons, 1921-1924, graduated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1925 and from Ridley Hall Theological College, 1930. He was ordained Deacon in 1930, served as Curate of St. Johns, Blackheath, 1930-1932, and worked for the Church Missionary Society, 1933-1946, taking charge of various missions in Kenya. He was Vicar of St. Marks, Mairobi, 1947-1953, and from 1953 Ideological Training/Rehabilitation Officer and Chaplain, Athi River Detention Camp, where Mau Mau activists were detained.

The Athi River Camp was initially staffed by Kenyan settlers who left their farms to help during the Mau Mau emergency. Church was recruited by the Department of Prisons because of his knowledge of the Kikuyu language and people. He in turn recruited a group of staff including Kikuyu instructors, all of them committed African Christians.

After leaving the camp, Church returned to England with his wife Elizabeth and their four children. He served as Rector of Pynford, Surrey, 1959-1969, Vicar of Nakuru, Kenya, 1969-1972 and retired to Devon, 1972.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of papers without permission. Contact thelibrary in the first instance.