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Name: WATSON, Andrew Macrae OBE

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Nee: bro of Bertie and James Kerr Watson

Birth Date: 28.11.1883 Ayr, Scotland

Death Date: 12 July 1973 Nairobi

First Date: 1908

Last Date: 1972

Profession: With brother James Kerr Watson he started farming in 1909 on Athi Plains & within a few months were supplying Nbi. with milk. Later he owned his own farm in same area. Also closely connected with Nbi. Agricultural Dept. many years on sub Comm.

Area: Athi Plains, Nairobi - 'Doonholm' Farm. KAD has A.M. Watson, Service Motor Co., Nairobi AND Red 25

Married: 1911 Ina Boyd Denovan d. Nairobi 28 Jan 1981(dau of Caleb and Elizabeth Denovan)

Children: Douglas Denovan (1930 Nairobi-2001 Gilgil); Colin; Denis; Ron; and four other sons, all of whom lived in Kenya for many years

Book Reference: Gillett, HBEA, EAWL, Sundown, Elephant People, KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Hut, Curtis, Advertiser, Leader14, Red Book 1912, North

War Service: 1914-18 with EA Mech. Transport Corps and awarded OBE ( Military Division)

General Information:

Colonial 1912 - Agricultural Dept. - Stenographer and Typist
HBEA 1912 - has  A.M. Watson as Accountant, Agricultural  Dept.  
Drumkey 1909 - Agricultural Dept. - Stenographer and Typist - A.M. Watson, Nairobi - This is Andrew Macrae Watson, accountant, appt 18 May 1908 - Blue Book 1912-13.
Gazette 22 May 1981 wife's probate
Barnes Langata cem Nairobi: in memory of / Andrew Macrae Watson / born 28.11.1883 / died 12.7.1973
A keen supporter of Caledonian Football Club for many years also Secretary of YMCA in 1909.
Source - Mrs Hazel Watson - James was a builder by profession and Andrew an accountant. They had one sovereign left between them. This meant they had to earn money before proceeding to their desired destination. They came to Nairobi and fell in love with Kenya so the idea of proceeding to Rhodesia was forgotten. Being Scotsmen they managed their earnings well and later that year acquired 5,000 acres of land 7 miles South of Nairobi on the Athi plains. They decided to raise cattle and sheep and a nucleus herd of animals was bought from the Masai.
J.K. started his own building business teaching local labour in those days there were not very many artisans from India available to assist. The materials used in the buildings he undertook varied from precast concrete (made from imported cement) and the rich locally quarried stone used for the more prestigious buildings that gave walls 18" thick. These included the Muthaiga Club, the Theatre Royal on Sixth Avenue ...... the old and original small St. Andrew's Church which many years later was moved from the site where the Lutheran Church now stands, into the grounds of the new St. Andrew's. Andrew was also involved in some of these projects and it is interesting to note that the removal was undertaken by the Mowlem Construction Co. when his third son Colin was Managing Director. The Nairobi Post Office was a project, on the same site as it has been ever since - the third edition now under construction! Mombasa Post Office, the Uganda Cathedral Namirembe and the National Bank of India, Kampala. Others in Nairobi were the original YMCA building somewhere near the present Kenya Coffee House and Silopark House in Nairobi.
Andrew was an enthusiastic founder member of the YMCA and contributed much of his time to its establishment in the growing town. The Exchange Building now preserved as Kipande House was a creation of the Watsons and the brothers were adventurous in constructing the first two-storey stone building in Nairobi which was the premises of Mackinnon Bros. on the site now occupied by Barclays Bank opposite Regal Mansions in the old Government Road. The time was ripe in 1910 for the construction of their own house and this is when the Doonholm property - also double-storeyed was accomplished. The name Doonholm was chosen in memory of their home town. .......  Although an 'o' has been dropped from the word, becoming Donholm, the name still belongs to the area where a housing estate has grown up. The original house still stands and was used as the site office when the estate was constructed a few years ago ...…
After the building of the house an all-weather road to Nairobi was needed especially as motor cars were becoming available and a popular means of transport. So Doonholm Road was built. Kavirondo men who worked for the Uganda Railway offered to work on the road in their spare time. They did not require money for doing so but had a happy arrangement of being supplied with abundant game meat from the animals which the brothers shot. This road is now known as Jogoo Road. ........... Running parallel with these activities was always their first love - the developing farm and cattle breeding. Ticks, as always, were a dreadful problem ..... In 1910 the brothers constructed the first cattle dip in EA at Doonholm, ceremonially launched by the then Governor of Kenya, Sir Percy Girouard. ...In 1913 they imported Ayrshire cattle from their home area and crossed these with the local Zebu animals ...
The brothers commuted to town by pony and milk was taken from the farm to the dairy by mulecart. They had taken over the small dairy named Rosebank as the nucleus for their new venture United Dairies. They also tried ostrich farming ... but this project did not last long as the ostriches were difficult to handle and were hard to confine, always escaping in the days when no permanent "chain link" type fencing was available. ...... (more) ... after WW1 a rift developed between the brothers and the farm was divided. ... Andrew joined the Agricultural Department as the Accountant ....was also a keen footballer and established the Caledonian Football team of which he was Captain for a period. ...At the outbreak of WW1 he was conscripted to the Mechanical Transport section of the British Army and was based at Dodoma ....... he was awarded the OBE for converting T Model Fords to run on the railway lines. After the War his interest in these early cars brought him to form the Motor Service Company and with partners Parker and Avery he became the agent for Ford Cars and Oliver farm implements ....... Sadly, like so many other businesses in the recession of the 1930s the Motor Service Company folded up and the Ford Agency was eventually taken over by the Hughes family. ... Andrew and Ina lived in a tent as their first home for well over a year on a spot the other side of the Ngong river and he continued to commute to Nbi. where he carried on his own accountancy business. Returning late in the evening by mule or pony in the dark of the rainy season he was unable to ford the flooding river and would leave his mount at the Express Transport yard on the old Mombasa Road, crossing by negotiating the sleepers of the railway bridge and walk several miles home across country. Ina would send the faithful servant Macharia to direct him by waving a hurricane lamp ........ They eventually moved onto his share of the land with his livestock to a house he built of weatherboard and timber until in the early 20s he managed to construct a permanent homestead he named 'Braemar' known today as Edelvale Children's Home. Here they lived with a growing family of 5 sons until 1950 when the British Colonial Government summarily acquired the farm for the original Embakasi airport ...... His fourth son, Doug, then in his 20s, who had joined his father, decided to start the farming activities all over again on the remaining Athi side of the land and with his own hands built a homestead also named Braemar. He created a home for his parents and Elizabeth his grandmother.
In the early 70s the remaining land was acquired by the government for the extension of the airport. Andrew died in his 90th year in 1972. Doug is now the only member of the Watson family remaining in Kenya where he lives quietly. Source - Mrs Hazel Watson   
Sundown - Neighbours of the Woodleys on the Athi Plains in the 30's.
Photo of 'Scotland' Football Team - Winners of the Maxwell Brady Challenge Cup - 1920 (A. Watson)
Photo - 'Scotland vs. England' - Nov. 29, 1919 - Amateur Football Ass. of BEA - International Football Match
Curtis - p-. 42 - The Watsons of Doonholm - 'Jim Watson with his wife Nell and brother Andrew arrived in Kenya in January 1908. The family were Scottish building contractors from Ayr. Jim brought with him a comprehensive set of his tools, and when the box was being unloaded in Mombasa Old Harbour from the small boat that brought them ashore it proved too heavy for the porters, who sank with it to the bottom. Fortunately the water was not too deep and both porters and tools were recovered. Not long after they reached Nairobi the Watsons bought 5000 acres of grazing land on the Athi plains some 7 miles south-east of Nairobi. Needless to say there was a tick problem because of the teeming game. The brothers' intention was to raise cattle and sheep, the nucleus of the herds being bought from the Masai. Jim duly established a building business and among the early buildings he put up, using pre-cast and cement blocks for walling, were the Post Office on 6th Avenue and the Old St. Andrew's Church, completed in 1910. Andrew Watson, by profession an accountant, took a job with the Agricvultural Dept. to help raise capital for the development of the farm. He lived at Doonholm and commuted to and from his Nairobi office on a mule. To overcome the tick problem the brothers built the first cattle dip in Kenya in the year 1910, the opening of which was attended by the Governor. Once the ticks had been controlled the Watsons imported Ayrshire cattle from Scotland, and their younger brother Bertie brought them out with him in 1913. These cattle formed the nucleus of the Doonholm Ayrshire Herd, which later won many prizes at Agricultural shows.
Advertiser - 4/9/1908 - Subscribers for St. Andrew's Church Building Fund - Andrew Watson - Rs. 45
Red Book 1912 - Agricultural Dept. - Accountant - Administrative Division
Gazette 3 Aug 1973 probate
Gazette 22 May 1981 wife's probate

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