Diary of Agnes Wilson in South Africa

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 115 RCS/RCMS 206
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English .
  • Physical Description
      1 volume(s) 1 volume paper

Scope and Content

The diary, 100 x 120 mm, is comprised of several notebooks bound together totalling 374 pages, and is lettered 'A.M.W. South Africa 1901-2'. There are entries on most of the right-hand pages, and notes, photographs, passes, tickets, cuttings and other souvenirs on the left-hand side. The diary describes life on board ship, visits to the Cape, travels in the interior, and events of the period in South Africa, including comments on the war, which had entered its guerilla phase. There are two pages of reflections on her work with knitting classes in the refugee camps in Bloemfontein and elsewhere, written by Wilson in 1952.

Administrative / Biographical History

Agnes Maria Wilson (1867-1957), known as Amy, was the sister of Sir Henry Francis Wilson (1859-1947), Colonial Secretary of the Orange River Colony. In November 1901 she sailed to South Africa to act as her brother's hostess. She remained until 7 May 1902, when she accompanied him back to England on leave. Harry Wilson married Isabelle Anderson in August 1902, and Amy Wilson returned to South Africa on her own account in 1903. She bought property near Pietermaritzburg, and engaged in farming until just before the Second World War.

Access Information

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).

Acquisition Information

Presented by Christopher Wilson, nephew of Miss Wilson, March 1976.


Includes index.

Other Finding Aids


MSS Addenda, vol. III. The photographs from the diary are described at Y305Q in the R.C.S. Photograph Collection.

A catalogue of the collection can be found on ArchiveSearch.


Elizabeth Hammerton, 'Amy Wilson's South African diary 1901-2', in 'Royal Commonwealth Society library notes', no. 220, October-December 1976, pp. 2-5, describes the diary and includes some extracts.

Additional Information

This collection level description was created by RAS using information from the original typescript catalogue.

Wilson, Agnes Maria, 1867-1957