#TBT: 15 photos of an extremely young Nairobi


Ladies’ fashion in the 1960s PHOTO/COURTESY
Ladies’ fashion in the 1960s PHOTO/COURTESY

A little more than a century ago, Nairobi was nothing more than a seasonal swamp at the edge of a forest. It had nothing much to show save for a variety of wild animals and endless tracts of grazing land.

On several occasions between 1902 and 1906 the colonial government had considered abandoning the site as a township in favour of the highland town, Kikuyu.

The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase ‘Enkare Nyrobi’, which translates to “cool water”.

The area Nairobi currently occupies was essentially uninhabited swamp until a supply depot of the Uganda Railway was built by the British in 1899 linking Mombasa to Uganda.

The location of the camp was chosen due to its central position between Mombasa and Kampala. It was also chosen because its network of rivers could supply the camp with water.

Additionally, its elevation would make it cool enough for residential purposes for not only the thousands of Indian laborers who came to Kenya seeking to be employed to work on the railway line, but also for the British settlers.

With such an apt location, it soon grew big enough to become the railway’s headquarters.

The city was first incorporated in 1900 as the Township of Nairobi. The regulations governing it were published on the 16th April, 1900.

Nairobi has through ages witnessed massive infrastructural, economic, social and political growth.

Below are some photos taken during the city’s revolution phases:

The Double Decker Kenya Bus in 1973 PHOTO/COURTESY
The Double Decker Kenya Bus in 1973 PHOTO/COURTESY
Harambee Avenue in the 1970s PHOTO/COURTESY
Harambee Avenue in the 1970s PHOTO/COURTESY
Kenyatta Avenue in 1915 PHOTO/COURTESY
Kenyatta Avenue in 1915 PHOTO/COURTESY
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in 1972 PHOTO/COURTESY
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in 1972 PHOTO/COURTESY
Electricity House along Kimathi Street in 1970. It was later renamed Nanak House when KPLC moved to Harambee Avenue PHOTO/COURTESY
Electricity House along Kimathi Street in 1970. It was later renamed Nanak House when KPLC moved to Harambee Avenue PHOTO/COURTESY
Back in the 1960s when the KICC was being constructed PHOTO/COURTESY
Back in the 1960s when the KICC was being constructed PHOTO/COURTESY
When Nyayo Bus was the dominant means of public transport in the city PHOTO/COURTESY
When Nyayo Bus was the predominant means of public transport in the city PHOTO/COURTESY
The Kenya Cinema in 1959 PHOTO/COURTESY
The Kenya Cinema in 1959 PHOTO/COURTESY
The Odeon Cinema in 1956 PHOTO/COURTESY
The Odeon Cinema in 1956 PHOTO/COURTESY
The City Market in 1970 PHOTO/COURTESY
The City Market in 1970 PHOTO/COURTESY
Moi Avenue in the early 1980s when traffic jam had started building up PHOTO/COURTESY
Moi Avenue in the early 1980s when traffic jam had started building up PHOTO/COURTESY
Kenyatta Avenue in the 1940s. It was at that time known as Delamere Avenue PHOTO/COURTESY
Kenyatta Avenue in the 1940s. It was at that time known as Delamere Avenue PHOTO/COURTESY
Ambassadeur Bus Stop in the 1960s PHOTO/COURTESY
Ambassadeur Bus Stop in the 1960s PHOTO/COURTESY
Kencom stage in the 1960s PHOTO/COURTESY
Kencom stage in the 1960s PHOTO/COURTESY
The Kenya National Archives – a view from the Moi Avenue side – in the 1960s PHOTO/COURTESY
The Kenya National Archives – a view from the Moi Avenue side – in the 1960s PHOTO/COURTESY

 

 

 

 

 

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Brian Okoth
Story By Brian Okoth
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