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Papers of Dorothy Webb relating to Southern Rhodesia

 Fonds — Box: CLX-A-386
Identifier: Coll-2050

Content Description

Papers relating to the settling and occupation of lands and farms by British settlers in Southern Rhodesia from the 1890s to the 1960s, compiled and saved from destruction by Mr Webb when Robert Mugabe was destroying records in Zimbabwe.

The first file is entitled "Lomagundi - S. S. Ranch Ext.", and has two bundles labelled "notices / gazettes" and "blank forms". The first bundle contains advertising pamphlets, gazettes, and paperwork relating to the purchase of land by settlers (1909-1913), and the second bundle contains blank forms, agreements of lease, and "permits of occupation" relating to such purchases (c. 1920). A few of these documents are annotated and/or include names.

The rest of the papers consists of several files of correspondence and manuscript papers, arranged by decades: "1800-1899" (actually 1892-1899), "1900-1909", "1910-1919", "1920-1929", "1930-1939", "1940-1949", and "1950-1962". These files contain a wealth of documents relating to the purchase and occupation of lands and farms by British settlers in Southern Rhodesia. They mostly consist of correspondence, typescript and manuscript notes, extracts of report, and minutes from the Surveyor General’s and the Civil Commissioner’s Offices in Salisbury (Rhodesia) and Melsetter, as well as leasehold agreements and certificates of rights with the names of the buyers/settlers and the related property. There is also some correspondence from the British South Africa Company, Commercial branch. The files for "1940-1949" and "1950-1962" are much smaller than the rest.

The original folder for the papers has also been kept because it includes a plan.


  • Creation: 1892-1962

Conditions Governing Access

Open, although researchers will have to sign a Data Protection form to see the post-1940 material. Please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

We currently do not have any biographical information on Dorothy Webb and her husband, except that they lived and worked in Zimbabwe for many years. Dorothy Webb died in 2021.


5 folders

Custodial History

From a note accompanying the collection: "The papers were rescued by Dr Webb's husband when Mugabe was destroying records in Southern Rhodesia. She brought them back to Scotland when she returned 13 years ago [c. 2008], having worked in Zimbabwe for many years. This archive includes a packet of letters, handwritten, dating from 1800 to 1962."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were "rescued" from the house of Dorothy Webb after her death in 2021, and donated to the University in 2022. Accession no. SC-Acc-2022-0010.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Aline Brodin in September 2022.

Papers of Dorothy Webb relating to Southern Rhodesia, 1800-1962
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379