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SPEKE, John Hanning (1827-1864)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0402 JHS
Held at: Royal Geographical Society
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Full title: SPEKE, John Hanning (1827-1864)
Date(s): 1857-1940
Level of description: Collection level
Extent: 2 boxes of 13 files
Name of creator(s): Speke | John Hanning | 1827-1864 | explorer


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, 1827; educated, Barnstaple grammar school and Blackheath proprietary school; 46th native Bengal infantry, 1844; served in the First and Second Anglo-Sikh wars of 1845-1846 and 1848-1849; expedition under Richard Burton into east Africa, 1854; expedition to the great lakes of east Africa, 1856-1859; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), 1857-1864; RGS Founder's Medal, 1861; Nile expedition, 1860-1863; died, 1864.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of John Hanning Speke including observation files, 'Explorations in Eastern Africa', 1859; copies of letters from the East African expedition to Philip Lutley Sclater and Sir William Hooker, Sep 1860, and to the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), 1 Oct 1860; observations and computations, Lake region and upper Nile, 1861-1863; 44 letters to the RGS, 1857-1864, from East Africa with some information on his second expedition with Richard Francis Burton, and from Wiltshire concerning his relations with Burton and the preparations for his proposed expedition with James Augustus Grant to the source of the Nile, and from East Africa reporting on the progress of that expedition; letter to Col Rigby from Khoko, 12 Dec 1860; letter to King Rumanika of Karagwé, Mar 1862; two letters from John Petherick, 24 Feb and 15 Apr 1863 concerning the aid he expected to receive from Petherick; coloured plates of birds noted in Africa by Wilhelm Ruppell and others with original watercolour sketches by Speke and Grant on blank verso pages, Speke's signature on the inside front cover is followed by a page of notes on the use of watercolours and a sketch of King M'tesa of Uganda; reprint from the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol 24, 'Report on a zoological collection from the Somali country by Edward Blyth, with additions and corrections by the collector' [Speke], edited by P L Sclater, London, 1860; letter, unfinished, to Mr. Tinne, from Neston Park, 1864; sketch maps of Lake Tanganyika and of Speke's route in 1857, (11 sheets, sheet 8 has a letter from Speke to the RGS from Unyanyembe, 20 Nov 1857, written on the back); volume entitled 'Extracts', containing a collection of press cuttings relating to the discovery of the source of the Nile by Speke and Grant and to Speke's death, 1863-1864 and volume entitled 'Record', containing extracts prepared by the Royal College of Arms for the Speke family.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Original order.

Conditions governing access:

Accessed via the Foyle Reading Room. Free of charge for Fellows, Members and those with valid academic identification. All other users pay a charge and must bring identification in order to register on arrival.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist, and subject to completion of 'application for copies' form. No reproduction or publication without the permission of the IBG-RGS Archivist.

Finding aids:

Detailed box list available in the Foyle Reading Room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

RGS Correspondence Blocks: War Office corr. May 1860; Speke Monument corr. 1881-1910; Works, Office of corr. 1881-1910 (re Speke Monument); Behm, Dr. E corr. 1871-80 letter of 26 June 1876; Speke, J H corr. 1911-20 letters about relics of J H Speke; Liddell, Sir W. corr. 1931-40 letter about portrait and bust of Speke; Speke Memorial at Chapel Plaister corr. 1921-30.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Prepared by an archives volunteer using existing finding aids. Revised by Sarah Drewery.
Sources: Oxford DNB.

Rules or conventions:
ISAD(G) ed. 2, name authority NRA.

Date(s) of descriptions:
15 March 2001; May 2008

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