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Royal Commonwealth Society : George Cansdale's collection on the Gold Coast [i.e. Ghana] 1938-1948

Cansdale, George Soper, b 1909

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>These photographs were taken by George Soper Cansdale (b. 1909) whilst employed in the Colonial Forest Service of the Gold Coast from 1934 until 1948 when he returned to England to become Superintendent of the Zoological Society of London. He presented them to the R.C.S. Library in November 1984.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Cansdale published numerous books and articles on zoological topics, and a further collection of his photographs, primarily woodland and logging scenes, <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Y30448V</a>, were presented to the R.C.S. Library in February 2006 by M.D. Swaine, of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>This collection (Y30448K) comprises 197 negatives and 6 modern prints. The negatives measure 60 x 60 mm, save for 160-163 which are 35 mm. Apart from nos. 60-112 which are in a negative album, they are all in small envelopes with the subject written on by Mr Cansdale, some have also been numbered by Cansdale. The collection chiefly concerns ethnic groups, occupations, market scenes, crafts and some formal occasions. Those of military interest have been lent to the Imperial War Museum which has copied six (62, 160-161, 167-169) for its own files and supplied prints, 180 x 130 mm, to the RCS.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The collection has been grouped in approximate date order, subdivided by area as follows:</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>1-3 Sierra Leone, 1938</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>4-46 Keta and other locations east of Accra, 1939</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>47-59 Kumasi and Ashanti, 1939</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>60-140 Tamale and Bawku, 1939</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>141-169 Accra (including Christiansborg Castle) 1939-40</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>170-180 Togoland, 1941</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>181-191 Miscellaneous 1941-44 and undated</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>191-197 Kumasi and Ashanti, 1948.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Of those stored in the negative album, each has an envelope number. Cansdale writes that this album 'is probably the most important part of my collection for this part of N.E. Gold Coast was seldom visited by Europeans and I know of nobody who took detailed photographs there, especially of market scenes, crafts, compunds. etc.' The Dagomba people were centred on Tamale: the Kasasi on Bawku, which is near the border with Upper Volta (now Burkino Faso) and Togo.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>George Soper Cansdale (b. 1909) was in the Colonial Forest Service of the Gold Coast from 1934 until 1948, when he returned to England to become Superintendent of the Zoological Society of London and to write numerous zoological books and articles.</p>

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