Annual Departmental Reports relating to Kenya, 1907-1964
British administration in part of the territory which later came to be known as Kenya was first established by the Imperial British East Africa Company in the 1880s. It was not until 1895 that a British protectorate under the Crown known as the East Africa Protectorate, including both the ten mile deep coastal strip on lease from the Sultan of Zanzibar and the interior, came into existence. Then, in 1920, the Protectorate, apart from the coastal strip, was annexed as the Colony of Kenya; the coastal strip was re-named the Protectorate of Kenya. This constitutional change, however, did not affect the general administration of the territory, which continued to be governed as one unit with little or no perceptible change in policies following directly from the new status. On the 12th December 1963, the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya attained independence.
The apex of the governmental organization in the territory was the Governor, who was responsible to the Secretary of State (and through him to the Imperial Parliament) for all aspects of government for the territory. From 1906 there was a Legislative Council, but, until 1948, the Government had a majority on it. Between 1906 and 1948 the Governor remained (subject to the control exercised by the Secretary of State for the Colonies) an absolute ruler, responsible for all the functions of government. These functions were, and continued to be, operated by civil servants on a departmental basis.
The head of each department was required to submit annual reports on the activities and progress of his department during the course of the preceding year. These reports provide valuable and detailed information as to the development of the territory's administrative, professional and technical services, which is obtainable from no other source. The Blue Books for Kenya give an overall picture and, indeed, draw to a large extent on these departmental reports for the information provided; but, do not include the level of data present here.
The contents of this collection have been re-arranged as necessary in order to create documents of a practicable size. Re-arrangement has been along thematic lines so that, for example, reports upon policing and finger printing have been combined into one document which covers both. The information for this description was derived, in part, from the guide to the microfilm edition written by Dr Henry F. Morris.