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Nottinghamshire Archives is currently temporarily closed to the public.

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Our research service can also carry out searches in the archives and provide information for you.

The Archives will reopen on 28 April 2015. Our Reopening Event will be held on 2 May.

Document of the month

March 2015: Photograph of Market Place, Freetown, Sierre Leone, 1911, by Thomas Arnott Gibbon of Beeston (1878 - 1964)

User AvatarPosted by Josanne Peet at 11/03/2015 08:40:06
 Photograph of Market Place, Freetown, Sierre Leone, 1911, by Thomas Arnott Gibbon of Beeston (1878 - 1964)
Reference: DD/2717/2/1


Thomas Arnott Gibbon spent virtually his entire working life in military or civilian service. Born in Pembrokeshire, he enlisted in the army as soon as he turned eighteen and  served in the Ordnance Corps in Gibralter, Malta and West Africa before the First World War. On returning from the Western Front he transferred to the Colonial Civil Service and returned to West Africa where work on the Uganda Railway was being completed. He retired to Beeston with his second wife Gladys Sydell and died in 1964. 


Always a keen photographer, Gibbon left several fascinating albums that documented life in the West African colonies during the 1920s and 1930s. The photographs feature not only the ongoing work on the new railway network but the people who lived in and around the affected areas. The result is a striking juxtaposition of traditional African life carried on amongst the backdrop of colonial development. Gibbon was obviously sensitive of the existing culture and sought to capture it whenever possible, taking many studies of Africans at work and at home. Here, the business of the market place continues whilst large European vessels lie at anchor in the harbour behind.


The catalogues of the photograph albums of Thomas Gibbon and his other military and personal papers can be searched on our online catalogue, under the reference DD/2717.


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