Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #116 begins on 11 Jul 2024

Anglo-Boer War


Published: Ladysmith, 1901

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An album containing around 99 photographs of Boer War prisoners in Ladysmith camp, which was known as "Tin Town".

By far one of the better concentration camps to be sent to during the war. The following interesting notes obtained from British Concentration Camp Database (BCCD):

'A large number of British troops were stationed at Ladysmith during the early part of the war, and when they left their barracks were used for Boer prisoners of war until 1902. It was particularly suitable for such recalcitrant inmates, Sir Thomas Murray, the Natal camps superintendent believed, since it was enclosed with unclimbable fencing. There were also a variety of other buildings available for hospitals, schools and other needs.

A young school teacher from England, Kate French, also recorded some of her experiences in Ladysmith camp. She found the climate much more bearable than Merebank's humidity and she was struck by the 'prim neatness' of the camp. She commented little on her pupils but enjoyed the lively social life of the town, with dances, picnics, tennis and dinners.

By the end of the war there were just over 1,000 people in Ladysmith camp. The camp attracted little attention from the authorities since health was good and the inhabitants gave no trouble.'

The album contains a few views of the camp from a nearby elevation, group photos of Boer POW's, a single studio photo of Joseph Orpen (pencil name "Joseph Orpen" on verso of photograph, but this may more likely be his son Leander Joseph John Orpen, born in 1877), a group photo of Boers in a dining hall with one individual balancing a tin of Golden Crown Cream on his knee, a few photos of Boers standing in small groups on the dusty avenues between buildings, idling, a photo of the photographer at work outside one of the buildings (a self-portrait maybe?), a group photo with "Tin Town Tentoonstelling" (note the alliteration) written on a canvas behind the subjects, and another group photo of Boers holding tennis rackets and their ever-present smoking pipes, one photo appears to be of General De Wet in the veld with his staff, a couple of photos of prisoners posing with two pretty nurses etc.

The rear panel of the album is missing and the front panel is loose. The photos are still in good condition although a small number have faded.

  • Binding Condition: Poor
  • Sold By: Rare Paper
  • Contact Person: Armandt Marais
  • Country: South Africa
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