"Elsmere" Home Page

Overview plus Revd Alfred Morris of Oudtshoorn

A miscellany of quotes and music and more

Boer War letters from Belmont and Kimberley

Oberlin letter 1849 and extracts from Peter family history

Journey to Darjeeling 1897

Jarnovic Bicentenary St Petersburg Russia 2004

Various other bits and pieces including Crossley Miles Vigne and Tandy

Some links


Contacting us

Additions - Dungamanzi Exhibition Opening, 2008

A gallimaufry
mostly historical

David Morris
Kimberley, South Africa
dmorris@inext.co.za   dmorriskby@gmail.com

These pages bring together a cluster of interests; and give links to other related sites.

I am retired from being Head of Archaeology at Kimberley's McGregor Museum. This site reflects some of my other interests in not unrelated historical fields.

Some publication projects:

Karoo rock engravings. By John Parkington, David Morris & Neil Rusch. 2008. Clanwilliam: Krakadouw Trust.  Republished in 2022.

(Sales in aid of Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project and Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre: www.wildebeestkuil.itgo.com)

Working with rock art: recording, presenting and understanding rock art using indigenous knowledge. Edited by Benjamin Smith, Knut Helskog and David Morris. 2012. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. 

My research interests over a number of years have been focused inter alia on the rock engraving site of Driekopseiland (see pic at left, taken by Liz Crossley). 

Driekopseiland and 'the rain's magic power': history and landscape in a new interpretation of a Northern Cape rock engraving site is the title of my 2002 Masters dissertation (UWC).

Rock art in the Northern Cape: The implications of variability in engravings and paintings relative to issues of social context and change in the precolonial past was my 2012 Doctoral dissertation (UWC).


Note on copyright

Please acknowledge any material cited from these pages: several items are either transcripts from old family documents, or papers/pieces written by myself. Any quotations from others are referenced/acknowledged.


Elsmere is the name of the street in which my family has lived since 1917.

My wife, Noeleen, and I, and our two sons Jonathan and Benjamin, moved here in 1990.

Two sets of great great grandparents on the Morris/Hull/McIntyre side were Kimberley pioneers, coming up to "The Diamond Fields" in 1870/1.

George Hull (1828-1916) had claims in the middle of what is now Kimberley Mine, sold after 1876, but his main enterprise was a wholesale business, G.H. Hull & Co, which acquired the agencies for Nobel's Glasgow Dynamite and Tangye Brothers and Holman (London) - suppliers of engineering equipment. Hull retired to Riet Pan, known as "Hull's Farm", outside Kimberley in 1893. During the Siege of Kimberley (1899-1900), the family lived at The Lodge in Belgravia (now the Duggan-Cronin Gallery). After Hull's death his family moved to Elsmere Road, a block away from The Lodge.

David McIntyre came to Kimberley in 1871 in the same carriage as did the American writer Jerome Babe, and he left a most interesting and entertaining account of the journey in a letter to his family still down at Ceres in the Cape. In 1895 his son Kenneth McIntyre married Edith Hull. They had two daughters, Mavis (my grandmother, 1896-1961), who married H.A. Morris (1884-1977), later a Freeman of Kimberley; and Olive Grant Vigne McIntyre, born Rietpan 1899, musician, artist, and Kimberley Librarian, who lived on at this house until her death aged 91 in 1990.


Titles of relevance:


Written by Michael Morris, Commissioned and funded by the Ministry of Education, Compiled by the Social Cohesion and Integration Research Programme of the HSRC

"In an extraordinary, engaging and ultimately entertaining account, Every Step of the Way traces the paths South Africans have followed from pre-colonial times to the democratic present, providing fascinating personal and historical details, and raising provocative questions about the choices, mistakes, contradictions and key themes in the emergence of the complex society that South Africa is today. Subtitled The Journey to Freedom in South Africa, the book takes in the broad sweep of history - from the distant past of the hunter-gatherer and African farmer societies to colonial exploration and conquest, slavery, enforced segregation, the struggle and ultimately the decade of liberation - weaving intriguing human interest narratives into the historical chronology."

Downloads available at:




By Michael Morris





Seeking recently to define anthropology - which could be given as, broadly, the study of humanity in its social, cultural, and physical aspects, past and present - Tim Ingold suggested that "the task of anthropology is to help dismantle the intellectual barriers that currently separate the humanities from natural science"; that "social/cultural anthropology, biological anthropology and archaeology form a necessary unity"; and that "anthropology deals, in the first place, not with entities and events, but with relations and processes." If, historically, there was a tendency for anthropology to be a study of "the other" in colonial situations by western academics, Ingold argues that in anthropology today "we study ourselves" - "the future of anthropology lies in changing our conception of who 'we' are, from an exclusive Western 'we' to an inclusive, global 'we'." He ends by suggesting that "Anthropology is philosophy with the people in." Archaeology, as a sub-discipline of anthropology, is the study of the material traces of past human activity. It may be defined as a set of methods and techniques used for writing history based on the material record that humans leave behind or that may be relevant to that record. It covers the span of time from our earliest ancestors, and in principle extends to within moments of the present.

Jarnovic Bicentenary 1804-2004 St Petersburg Russia

Jarnovic had two daughters, one of whom married Henry Hull, and they emigrated to South Africa in 1833. Today their descendants, in Southern Africa, New Zealand, Canada, UK and Norway, are the only known descendants of Jarnovic, eighteenth century violinist and composer.

See www.stpetersburg.itgo.com for an account of the bicentenary of his death in St Petersburg.

Some museum stuff
See my links page for a connection to the McGregor Museum's website.
The Archaeology Department has been involved in a wide cross-section of projects from Canteen Kopje (an ancient Acheulean site with handaxes up to a million or more years old) to Kamfersdam (a circa 1900 urban ash-heap on Kimberley's outskirts). The geographical spread of our work has been from Kimberley in the east to the Richtersveld in the west, from the Kgalagadi area in the north to Aspoort, Hantam District, in the south. During the last few years our efforts have been focused to a large extent on public archaeology, including the development of the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Site (opened 2001), Canteen Kopje and the new Barkly West Museum (2000), the Ancestors and Frontier Gallery at the McGregor (1998-1999). Also public-orientated is the South African Archaeological Society's newsletter, The Digging Stick, which I edited from 1994 to 2001. One of my interests is the significant social role of Museums, and the importance of building up museums to fulfill this role by way of various outreach programmes, additional to displays. It must never be forgotten, however, that conservation and research are as important core functions, without which museum outreach cannot be supported and sustained.

I have served on SAHRA permits committees, am a committee member of the Kimberley and Northern Cape Historical Society, and the Trans !Garib Archaeological Society, and am a Trustee of the Northern Cape Rock Art Trust. Recently I was appointed to the newly formed Northern Cape Geographical Names Committee.

Web page details
This website was originated on 4 May 2002.
Updates: 19 May 2002
8 June 2002 - added Tandy and Vigne information
22 Dec 2002 - added Alfred Morris story

You are visitor No: 39332

Other current history research

Family history

See page on the Jarnovic Bicentenary in St Petersburg, Russia, November 2004.

Family history research includes the following lineages:
Morris; McIntyre; Hull; Vigne; Peter; Tandy; Giornovichi/Jarnovic.
On Noeleen's side of the family: Richards, Fry, Glasson, Wills, Shaw, Cawood, and more.

Roberts family: http://www.thomasroberts.itgo.com 

(The Revd Thomas Roberts A.M., was Rector of St Peter's Cornhill and Vicar of Tottenham, Middlesex, from 1798 to 1824. His daughter Mary Ann Roberts married Henry Vigne: their son, Henry Thomas Vigne married Anna Maria Peter from Fife, a relative of the Tandy family in Ireland, and emigrated to the Cape of Good Hope in 1844. A younger son, Herbert Vigne, also went out to the Cape. Their descendants live to this day in South Africa).

Establishment of St Cyprian's Grammar School (2009), and Cathedral History Project: http://stcyprians.itgo.com



"Every man who has a cause at heart is bound to act as if it depended on him alone, however well he may know his own unworthiness; and thus is action brought to birth from mere opinion." - William Morris.