The British race is superior to heterogeneous African races only now emerging from centuries of relative barbarism.
I am going to prove to you all that this is a white man's country.
-Hugh Cholmondeley 3rd Baron Delamere

Such was the settler perspective of the colony
A thread
For a number of settlers in Kenya, life was quite comfortable. Caroline Elkins in Britains Gulag talks of "a leisurely lifestyle, large estates with dozens of domestic servants, big game hunting, sports" for some... and for others, a never-ending adventure steeped in decadence
It's only fair that we begin with the "Happy Valley Set" (HPS), a group of hedonistic, largely British and Anglo-Irish aristocrats who settled in the "Happy Valley" region of the Wanjohi Valley, near the Aberdare mountain range in the 1920s to 1940s.
The Happy Valley Set had ‘houseboys’, mostly Kikuyu men who acted on orders barked by their white ‘masters’ in Swahili pidgin called ‘ki-settler’(Kuenda kitanda, leta saa -> Go to the flower bed and bring some thyme); Somali men held a higher status as indoor butlers
The pioneer and high priestess of Happy Valley was Lady Idina Sackville, daughter of the 8th Earl De La Warr. She lived in a home christened Clouds, with three of her five husbands from 1930... and was known for throwing three-day wild orgies.
The wild parties she hosted included spouse-swapping, binge-drinking and drug use on an industrial scale. Stories were also told of how she often welcomed her guests in a bathtub made of green onyx and proceeded to dress before them.

Idina with Josslyn Hay 22nd Earl of Erroll
Her third husband, Josslyn Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll and co-host of the parties at Clouds, abandoned his diplomatic career in Britain and scandalised society when he eloped with Idina in 1929.

Erroll was a captain in the Kenya Regiment and military secretary for East Africa.
Hay acquired a reputation as a playboy preying on monied women including Lady Diana Broughton, whose husband Sir Delves Jock Broughton was later suspected of murdering him in 1941.

The incident spawned numerous books & movies including White Mischief.
Sir Broughton was arraigned before a jury whose foreman was his barber, and acquitted due to insufficient evidence.

He eventually returned to England, and in December 1942, committed suicide by overdosing on morphine, leaving behind two children … and unanswered questions.
Then there was Countess Alice de Janzé, an American heiress, socialite & ranking member of HPS.

Known as the "Wicked Madonna," Alice had an affair with Hay, and Raymond de Trafford, whom she shot in Paris when he declined to divorce his wife and marry her. They both survived
Another denizen of HPS was pioneering aviatrix, Beryl Markham. Born in England but raised in Kenya, Markham trained race horses, had scandalous affairs and hang out in the valley.

She is credited for being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.
The chief dealer of drugs for the HPS was Frank Greswolde Williams, who got his supplies from Port Said and openly plied his trade at the Muthaiga Club.

Williams was once thrown out of the club for offering cocaine to the Prince of Wales (pictured) and heir to the throne.
Incidentally, the Prince of Wales ascended to the throne as King Edward VIII in January 1936 but abdicated in December 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. His father had predicted he would only last 12 months.

History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes...
Credited with the formation of KCC and Unga, Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere, a hunter turned agricultural expert, was also a founding member of HPS.

He is said to have once ridden his horse into the Norfolk Hotel (aka the House of Lords) and hurdled over tables
He was also a member of the Muthaiga Club (aka the Moulin Rouge of Africa) where the elite 'drank champagne and pink gin for breakfast, played cards, danced through the night, and generally woke up with someone else's spouse in the morning'
--Britain's Gulag, Caroline Elkins
His wife, Gwladys Lady Delamere was the first female mayor of Nairobi and a bronze statue of the man was erected at the intersection of Delamere Avenue (Kenyatta Avenue) and Hardinge Steet (Kimathi Street) in 1932.
The settlers set up a number of sports and members clubs including Nairobi Club (1901), Nyeri Club ('20), Njoro Club ('21), Eldoret Club ('22) Nanyuki sports ('24), Kitale Club ('25), Elgon Club ('28), Makuyu Club ('33)... clubs now patronised by modern-day Kenyan elites.
Horse racing held a particular fascination for them as well, with the first races being held at what is today Racecourse Road in Kariokor, Nairobi. The racecourse was later moved to the Royal Ascot-inspired Ngong Racecourse in 1954
Popularly known as “Langalanga” (Maasai for “round and round”) the first black-top motor racing track in Kenya was opened on March 26, 1951 near Gilgil, 40 kilometres east of Nakuru Town.

Notable racers included Vic Preston Sr. and Peter Hughes
There were also some interesting characters such as Dr Rosendo Ribeiro, a Portuguese/Goan physician who was Kenya’s first private medical practitioner.

Dr Ribeiro was famous for his secret malaria cure, and was often seen riding a zebra around the streets of Nairobi.
Then there was Ewart Grogan who walked from Cape Town to Cairo to prove his love.

He built his house at Chiromo (UoN), put up the Gertrude Children's Hospital (named for his wife) and built Kenya's first deep water harbour at Mombasa.
Finally, there was Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke for whom the "wealthy borough" of Karen is named.

Born in wealth, the author lived in Kenya until 1931. She failed as a coffee farmer and wrote Out of Africa, which became an oscar-winning movie. 
There was also a dark side, even for drunken settlers.

On 16th Mar 1922, settlers at the Norfolk joined in the shooting of protesters who, led by Muthoni Nyanjiru, had gathered to protest the arrest of Harry Thuku.

Some 25 protesters were killed.
The Happy Valley Set may be gone but there are echoes of the past including the Tom Cholmondeley (a Delamere) murders, the arrest of Jack Marrian for smuggling 220 pounds cocaine into Kenya and the murder of Tonio Trzebinski.
And things are much quieter these days

"The white community has survived by laying low, keeping their mouths shut. We stayed out of politics. That was the big taboo. We must be no challenge to the black man's political power"
-Michael Cunningham-Reid
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