Empire’s Other Whites

In the popular imagination, the archetypal British imperialist is the kind of daring young adventurer portrayed in the stories of Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling. But, reveals Will Jackson, those who settled the Empire were far more diverse than stereotypes allow.

The cover of a jingoistic annual with Britannia in a chariot drawn by the British lion

‘On 11 August 1923 I started walking.’ So began a letter sent by a Mrs Winifred Caldwell to the Earl of Athlone, Governor General of South Africa, in July 1925. We do not know where Caldwell was born or when she migrated to South Africa, only that she was British. With her husband struggling to find work, 10 children to support and no means of making a living, Caldwell decided to leave her home in the village of MacLear, on the banks of the River Mooi in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, and walk. 

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