fonds CLAY - Records of Gervas Clay

Identity area

Reference code



Records of Gervas Clay


  • 1940-1963 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.06 cubic metres

3 boxes and 1 microfilm reel

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Gervas Clay was born on 16 April 1907 near Burton-on-Trent and was educated at Furzie Close and Lancing College after which he attended New College, Oxford, from 1926. After Oxford, Clay went to Northern Rhodesia in 1930, where his career saw him take on a variety of posts, as postmaster, tax collector, census taker, police chief and magistrate.

Clay was appointed to the Secretariat in Lusaka in 1944, and this was followed by postings as District Commissioner at Kitwe, Ndola and Broken Hill, before being appointed Provincial Commissioner for the Southern Province in Livingstone in 1953, a post he held for six years. In 1958, Clay was appointed as Her Majesty's Resident Commissioner of the Barotseland Protectorate (formerly part Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia). In his role as Resident Commissioner to Barotseland, he hosted a three-day visit from the Queen Mother in his Residency in 1960, and was to accompany the Paramount Chief and his Government to Britain for pre-independence talks. In the 1950s he was also chairman of the Northern Rhodesian Amateur Athletics Association. Clay was later Director of the Rhodes Livingstone Museum, Zambia, and was author of 'Your friend, Lewanika: the life and times of Lubosi Lewanika, Litunga of Barotseland 1842-1916 (London, Chatto & Windus, 1968).

Clay married Betty St Clair Baden-Powell (1917-2004) on 24 September 1936. He died on 18 April 2009.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The records were given to the University of York in February 1976 as part of the Centre for Southern African Studies Documentation Project .

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Administrative, archaeological, historical and anthropological papers, including: annual reports Southern Province 1952, 1955; Barotseland Protectorate annual report on African affairs 1958; B. Reynolds, `Ethnographic study of the peoples of the Mashi valley, South Western Barotseland', Report for the years 1961/62, Rhodes-Livingstone Museum; `Effect of tribalism on political development', 24 pp typescript (by W.V. Brelsford?); Archaeologia Zambiana, 1965 - 76 (14 issues, incomplete); G.R. Clay, `Notes on the Tambo people of Isoka District', c1942 (original notebooks etc. and copies of typescript deposited in the Rhodes-Livingstone Museum); genealogy of the Mutambo family; Chiwemba vocabulary; `Report arising out of a study tour to South Africa and the Rhodesias' by Messrs. F.W. Carpenter and T.C. Colchester, Jan - Feb 1949.

Athletics documents including: minutes and correspondence of the Northern Rhodesian Amateur Athletics Association, and of the Nkana Amateur Athletics Club; miscellaneous items; press cuttings on the Zambesi flood 1957 and 1958; on Kariba; on politics and government. Includes a run of The Kudu ,1958-61, 1961-3 (newsletter of the Northern Rhodesian Girl Guides' Association).

Microfilm contains: documents on the history of Barotseland 1889-1916; from the National Archives of Rhodesia and typescript copies of documents in the Archives collected during the preparation of Your Friend, Lewanika. [Microfilm filmed at the University of York Photographic Unit from the collection of G.C.R. Clay, in 1976].


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

The microfilm may not be copied.

For the papers, a reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The archive has not yet been catalogued.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Former reference


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area