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Name: CLARKE, Percival Herbert 'P.H.' MBE, OBE

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Birth Date: 31 Dec 1872 Bermondsey

Death Date: 26 June 1934 Mombasa

Nationality: British

First Date: 1898 - after spending some 5 years in S. Africa

Last Date: 1934

Profession: Went to Mombasa in 1898 to join the firm of Boustead Ridley & Co.. In 1902 he started trading on his own account in Kisumu and in 1909 he amalgated with Boustead Bros. which latterly became Boustead & Clarke Ltd. with their headquarters at the Coast

Area: Mombasa, Kisumu

Married: In London 16.8.1906 Edith Annie Leng b.1888 (div. 1914)

Children: Edith Mary (Kisumu 11.12.1907); William Francis (31 Oct 1911 Kilindini)

Author: Further Bookref: Red Book 1912, Red 19

Book Reference: Gillett, HBEA, Cuckoo, Hobley, Ainsworth, Permanent Way, Police, Kenya Diary, Norden, Breath, KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Hut, EAMR, North, Playne, Macmillan, Drumkey, Red 22, Land, EAHB 1906, Gazette, Nicholls, Medals, EAHB 1904, EAHB 1907, Leader14, Barnes,

School: Royal Merchant Seamen's College

General Information:

He became a very prominent business man at Mombasa, and at one time served on more than 17 different Commissions and Committees. In 1914 he was President of the Mombasa Club and served for some years on the Kenya Legco.
Cuckoo - 1904 - Kisumu - Close to the Indian bazaar lived an old-timer, P.H. Clarke. He had established a general store and trading business, just having taken A.K. Milliken into partnership. Clarke and Milliken were energetic, so soon cornered the main commercial activities of Kisumu. They were stout hearted men and popular with all, richly deserving the success which came to them. Clarke had been for a number of years trading in the Protectorate, with varying fortunes. Later the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent; and Clarke acquired the flourishing business of Boustead Bros. in Mombasa. "P.H." as everyone called him, was the first Town Clerk and officiating in that capacity when I went to Kisumu in 1904. Died in Mombasa in 1935. His name was an honoured one to the last. After 1910 when he took over Boustead Bros. this included the proprietorship of Mombasa Club.
Hobley - bought Hobley's upright piano in Kisumu for resale in Uganda. Shipped to Uganda in a dhow which sank in a storm and Clarke survived by hanging on to the floating piano case! (more)
Ainsworth - December 1898 - 'it was unfortunately necessary to send a punitive expedition into the Kivosoi location of Kikuyu because of an unprovoked attack by the natives on Mr P. Clarke of Messrs Boustead, Ridley & Co.. Police - 1904 - the only European trader in Kisumu
Obituary - 'East Africa' - 1934 - Courtesy of Mrs A. Durant - 'The sudden death in Mombasa at the age of 62 of Mr Percival Herbert Clarke will not surprise those friends who knew the serious state of his health. For a long time his heart had caused more anxiety to others than he allowed it to cause him and the news which he received a month ago of the death in this country of the daughter to whom he was so deeply attached must certainly have loosened his hold on life. "PH" as he was known to all pre-War Kenyans, and to many of the post War generation - was born in Bermondsey on the last day of 1872, and educated at the Royal Merchant Seaman's Orphanage, to which he remained grateful to the end, never failing to visit it when in England. At the age of 18 he went to S. Africa, from which he returned a few years later. In 1898 he sailed for Mombasa to join the firm of Boustead, Ridley & Co. on the liquidation of which four years later he began trading on his own account in Kisumu - of which he used to recall with mock solemnity that he was its first Town Clerk (honorary). Then followed years of strenuous effort, the fruits of which he reinvested in his business. But he lost everything by shipwreck on Victoria Nyanza when returning from Uganda in a dhow laden with ivory and other goods. For a while he organised a gold prospecting syndicate, but when that failed he restarted trading in Kisumu. In 1909 he amalgamated with Boustead Bros. and established his headquarters in Mombasa as principal of Boustead and Clarke, which has for many years been one of the best known names in EA commerce. "PH's" record of public service was outstanding. At one time he was a member of no fewer than 17 different Commissions and Committees sitting in Kenya; and he was never a member merely in name, for, possessed of decided views and wide experience, he always contributed something to the subject under consideration. He had been an unofficial member of the Kenya War Council, the Kenya Legco and the Inter-Colonial Railway Advisory Council; he was the first President of the Association of Chambers of Commerce of EA, thrice President of the Mombasa Chamber of Commerce; and an original member of the Mombasa War Committee, the Mombasa Harbour Board, and the Mombasa District Committee. For these great services spread over many years he was made an MBE. He was of the pioneer school, the members of which went after business on their flat feet. When he first reached EA, ivory was the main item of trade, and again and again he trekked up to Uganda to bring down caravans of the precious commodity. That his camps were sometimes raided and his own life endangered did not divert him from his purpose. What a story he could have written! Though a good conversationalist, it was not easy to get him to talk about the early days, but at different times he told me sufficient to make me urge him to commit his reminiscences to paper. They would have made a valuable historical record, for his memory of men and matters was undimmed by the passing years, and he could talk with inside knowledge of almost all aspects of Kenya affairs during more than 3 decades. In recent years his domestic life had been saddened by one blow after another; of them, though they hit him hard, he refused to complain. His example in that respect will be long remembered by all who knew him well, as he will be for his spirit of public service, his hospitality, his generosity, and his ardent love of Kenya. Before leaving England a few months ago he told a friend that he hoped he would be buried beneath Mombasa's waving palm trees. His desire has been granted. RIP. - FSJ.    
Norden - 1923 - Lake Steamer, HMS Jahazi, 65 ft. overall, used now in Government service. Built many years ago in Gloucester on the Severn, for Percy Clarke. He did not own her long.
North - Attacked by Kikuyu in Kirosoi location Dec 1898; Listed as member Mombasa Club 1899; based Nairobi June 1899; began trading on own account at Kisumu 1902
Playne - In the old days Messrs Boustead, Ridley & Co., out of which grew the firm of Boustead Brothers, used to run safaris up-country, and they put the first steamer - the ss Kampala - on Lake Victoria Nyanza [sic], the parts being carried on porters' heads. They were also agents for many of the missions, including the CMS. They established themselves in Mombasa in 1892, but they have had a branch at Zanzibar for 35 years, and have another branch in Colombo. The partners are Messrs. J.M. Boustead and E.G. Money. Mr H.C. Rayne is the manager for BEA, and came here in 1902. The Mombasa and Zanzibar houses are run separately, and quite recently the firm has amalgamated its Mombasa business with that of Messrs P.H. Clarke Ltd., of Port Florence (Kisumu), Mombasa and Homa, under the style of Boustead and Clarke Ltd. The directors of the new company are Messrs. J.M. Boustead, R.N. Boustead, P.H. Clarke, H.C. Rayne and A.S. Milliken
Playne - It was in 1907 that Mr P.H. Clarke established in Kisumu the business which has since been known all over EA. as P.H. Clarke Ltd., and has now amalgamated with Messrs Boustead Bros. of Mombasa, under the title of Boustead and Clarke Ltd. A salient characteristic of EA businesses is the quickness of their expansion. The firm carries at Kisumu a large stock of wines, spirits, groceries, soft goods and general merchandise. They occupy large premises of wood and iron, covering an area of 4 acres, with 8.25 acres for the Nyanza Market. ..... the firm are large exporters of country produce and are official brokers and auctioneers. Mr P.H. Clarke, who was managing director of the Kisumu business, and is on the board of the new company, resides in Mombasa. Mr A.S. Milliken (another director of the new company), who came to EA in 1899 from England is manager in Kisumu, and is assisted by Mr A.C. Blakeney and Mr J.D. Milliken ........ The company also own lime works at Homa Hill, 24 miles from Kisumu, in Karachonya District. There are 10 acres of quarrying, and 2 lime kilns with a capacity of 1500 feet each. ......... The company have a steam launch which runs to the lime works, and is in great demand for hippo shooting on the Lake. ......... [the company also owned a farm, grinding mill and a trading station at Hoima]
Macmillan - Chairman & Managing Director of Boustead & Clarke, Ltd. - has been in East Africa since 1898
Drumkey 1909 - Compagnie Des Messageries Maritimes de France, Kisumu
Drumkey 1909 - Broker - Kisumu
Land - 1908 - P.H. Clarke Ltd. - Building, 20,000 sq.ft., Kisumu Township, 6-5-05, Registered 16-1-08
Land - 1907 - P.H. Clarke - Agricultural, 109.09 acres, Kisumu, 9-12-04, Registered 28-2-07
Land - 1906 - P.H. Clarke - Building, 8.26 acres - Victoria Street, Kisumu - Lease from 1/4/1906 - Registered 3/5/1906
Gazette - 7/4/15 - Liable for Jury service, Mombasa
Nicholls - Kisumu - Business was in the hands of the Indians and of P.H. Clarke, the first white merchant in Kisumu. A cattle trader originally in charge of safaris from the coast, he was helped to put his business on a sound footing by Otto Markus of Mombasa, by the small white population of Kisumu clubbing together to raise funds for him, and by Stephen Bagge giving him contracts to rebuild Kisumu on the other side of the bay. He did well and joined Boustead to launch the firm Boustead & Clarke.
Medals - Mombasa Defence Force - P.H. Clarke, No. 9271, Private
EAHB 1904 - Kisumu Merchants and Residents - Clarke, P.
Barnes - Mombasa Cemetery - P.H. Clarke, died 26 Jun 1934 age 61, European Hospital, Cerebral Haemorrhage
Red Book 1912 - P.H. Clarke - Mombasa
Gazette - 1/2/1906 - Member of Kisumu Township Committee
Red Book 1919 - District Committees - Mombasa - P.H. Clarke
Red Book 1919 - Mombasa Swimming Club - President - Hon. P.H. Clarke
Gazette - 8/4/1930 - Liable to serve as Jurors and Assessors - P H Clarke, Boustead & Clarke, Mombasa

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