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Name: RIDDELL, James (Senior)

image of individualimage of individual

Photo Source: East African Standard 7 Apr 1934

Birth Date: 1880 Glasgow

Death Date: 15 Jan 1962 Nairobi

First Date: 1914

Profession: Master baker, worked first with Messrs Wimhurst Ltd. & later with MacKinnon Bros. Mayor of Nairobi more than once. President Caledonian Society, 1928. Keenly interested in football & great supporter of Caledonians

Area: Nairobi, 1925 Box 35, Nairobi

Married: 1. Margaret Wilson b. 1880, d. 17.11.1918 Nairobi, influenza 2. Helen b. 1894 (Russian)

Children: Barbara Annie Robertson (1903) (Johnston); James (1905)

Book Reference: Gillett, KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Macmillan, Red 22, Gazette, KGF

School: Glasgow Board School and Dr. J. Robertson's Training College for the Baptist Ministry

General Information:

Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Voters List - a Barbara Riddell is living at same address - Box 246, Nbi
His recreation was painting and he was an artist of some note
KAD 1922 - Nairobi Municipal Councillor
Macmillan - 1930 - Wimhurst Ltd., Bakers & Confectioners, Grocers, Wine & Spirit Merchants etc. - The firm's bakery is in Standard Street, and is presided over by Mr James Riddell, a practical expert in everything pertaining to the baking trade, in which he has spent his entire business career, including training and service in it in his native land, Scotland, with some of the best known baking firms there. Mr Riddell has been, it may be mentioned, 4 times Mayor of Nairobi, and was President of the Caledonian Society of Nairobi in 1928. ….. The firm was established in 1926 but the active partners were in Nairobi for many years previously in the service of one of the local houses in the same trade. When that house was reorganised they took over the bakery department, and have since been very successful …..
Gazette - 7/4/15 - Liable for Jury service, Nairobi District - James Ridell [sic], Mackinnon Bros.
KGF - EA Standard 31 Mar 1950 - Mayor of Nairobi 1925/6/7 and 1931/2/3 - In 1935, after having lived in Kenya for some 22 years, Mr James Riddell, Mayor in 1925/6/7 and again in 1931/2/3, threatened to leave the country forever. He intended to settle down in Glasgow as "competition in Kenya had become so fierce that it was an impossible country to live in for the non-official European." But Mr Riddell is still living in Kenya - on the outskirts of Nairobi. He has a reputation for plain speaking and in his earlier days was the driving force behind many schemes designed to improve working conditions, particularly among Europeans. In 1919 he was instrumental in inaugurating and organising the Workers' Federation at a time when he considered there was athreat to reduce wages and salaries; some years later he advocated an insurance scheme, by which all Europeans might have regular leave, and a land bank to assist soldier-settler farmers.
Mr Riddell served on the Municipal Council for 15 years. On 6 occasions, he recalled to an East African Standard reporter a few days ago, he was 'ordered out' of meetings 'for resenting rude remarks'. "One occasion was when I objected to the Tender Board having executive powers," he said. "As I was not a member of the Board apparently I had no right to criticise its expenditure. Another time I used the words 'damned wangle' in the Council - and the next day the Press had it in large letters in the headlines.
During my 15 years we had three very bad periods of unemployment. In the first instance there were some 350 workless; in the second period unemployed made concrete blocks for the Council, while in 1933 some 200 people - mostly farmers - had their fares paid to other countries." Mr Riddell recalled that right from the start he had urged Council to erect its own building; formerly the Council rented a number of buildings. "Now we have a very worthy building in the City Square", he added. When the first Council - with 16 elected members and a Goan member nominated by Government - took over from the Committee it was faced with the formidable task of meeting public demands for vast improvements in sanitation, water supplies, better roads and a new slaughter-house and Native location. The first loan, he said, was for some £15,000 to instal water-borne sanitation.
In 1927 Mr Riddell was a member of a committee which included Lord Delamere, General Rhodes, Sir Christian Felling, and a town planning expert from South Africa, which sat for 6 months to frame a report to Government on the orderly development of Nairobi. "Among the recommendations was the realignment of the railway which has now taken place after all these years," said Mr Riddell. "The Duke Street area was also dealt with and factory sites allocated near the railway. Roads formed an important part of the discussions and had the recommendations been carried out we would not have had the awful conditions that prevail today."
Gazette - 12/11/1919 - Register of Voters - Nairobi, South Area - James Riddell - Baker - Caledonian Road
Gazette 31 July 1962 probate
Barnes Langata cem, Nairobi in loving memory / of / James Riddell / O.B.E. / died 15th Jan 1962 / aged 81 years
Gazette 31 July 1962 probate

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