Happy Valley set

Happy Valley set

city locator
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base_caption = Nyeri, Kenya (click to enlarge map)
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infobox_caption=Nyeri, Kenya in the Central Province was the
center of the Happy Valley set (click to enlarge map)

The Happy Valley set was a group of privileged British colonials living in the Happy Valley region of the Wanjohi Valley, "Around the Aberdares - Home with Hostelbookers" (Aberdare Range), Rough Guides Ltd., Hostelbookers.com, 2006, webpage: [http://www.hostelbookers.com/guides/kenya/around_the_aberdares HBookers-Kenya-Aberdares] .] near the Aberdare mountain range, in the colonies of Kenya and Uganda during the 1920s - 1940s. The elite social group became notorious for stories of drug use and promiscuous sexual encounters.

The white community in Kenya in the pre-WWII period was divided into two distinct factions: settlers, on the one side, and colonial officials and tradesmen, on the other. Among both groups there was a dominance of upper-middle-class and upper-class British citizens, but the two groups often disagreed on issues ranging from land allocation to how to deal with the natives.

Typically, the officials and tradesmen looked on the Happy Valley set with disdain and embarrassment. The height of the Happy Valley set's influence was in the late 1920s. The recession sparked by the 1929 Wall Street stock market crash greatly decreased the number of new arrivals to Kenya and the influx of capital. Nevertheless, by 1939 Kenya had a white community of 21,000 people.


The Wanjohi Valley is near Aberdare National Park, east of the Great Rift Valley. The area around Naivasha, Kenya was one of the first to be settled by white people and one of the hunting grounds of the hedonistic Happy Valley set. "Naivasha, Kenya" (tourist information), go2africa.com, 2006, webpage: [http://www.go2africa.com/Kenya/rift-valley/naivasha/ Go2Africa-Naivasha] .]

Some members of the Happy Valley set lived in Gilgil, Kenya, just north of Lake Naivasha.

The colonial town of Nyeri, Kenya, to the east of the Aberdare Range, was the center of Happy Valley settlers, "Cultural Safari" (concerning Aberdare & Happy Valley settlers), MagicalKenya.com, webpage: [http://www.magicalkenya.com/default.nsf/doc21/4YNNR2FZEI80?opendocument&l=1&e=4&s=1 MK] .] the group of British aristocrats and adventurers who later became infamous for decadent lifestyles and exploits in the 1930s and 1940s. The town has had the atmosphere of a sleepy English village, an impression fostered by the cool air and morning mists.

Outside Nyeri is the Outspan Hotel, a colonial landmark which became a place of pilgrimage for the world's Scouts. A small cottage on the hotel grounds was the final home of Baden-Powell and his wife, founder of the scouting movement, and he is buried outside Nyeri. The cottage has a small museum dedicated to Baden-Powell's life and memory.

Popular culture

The antics of the Happy Valley set were highlighted in books and films such as "White Mischief", which dramatised the trial of Sir 'Jock' Delves Broughton for the murder of the 22nd Earl of Erroll; and "The Happy Valley", Juanita Carberry's account of her adolescence and later involvement with the Delves Broughton case.


Among the members of the Happy Valley set were:

"Corpun - Book Reviews Page 4" (description), "CHILD OF THE HAPPY VALLEY: A Memoir" (memoir), CorPun, Colin Farrell, January 2004, webpage: [http://www.corpun.com/books4.htm CP-Carberry] .]

* Sir Jock Delves Broughton, Bt.;
* The Earl of Erroll;
* Alice de Janzé - niece of J. Ogden Armour;
* Frederic de Janzé - husband of Alice de Janzé;
* Diana Caldwell, Lady Broughton;
* Hugh Dickenson;
* Lady Idina Sackvile - Later Idina Wallace, Idina Hay, Idina Gordon - The Basis of Nancy Mitford's The Bolter;
* Jack Soames;
* Nina Soames;
* John Carberry, Baron Carberry - perhaps most wealthy of the group, owner of "Seremai" estate in Kenya;
* Lady June Carberry, Baroness Carberry - wife of Baron Carberry;
* Juanita Carberry - daughter of John Carberry, co-author of "Child of the Happy Valley";
* Dickie Pembroke;
* Kiki Preston - American socialite;
* Julian Lezzard;
* Raymond de Trafford

See also

* Mount Kenya
* Errol Trzebinski
* Whites in Kenya
* Lake Naivasha Country Club - site from the period.
* Nyeri - town from the period.



* "Child of the Happy Valley: A Memoir" (memoir), by Juanita Carberry with Nicola Tyrer, London, 193 pages, ISBN 0-434-00729-3.
* Huxley, "The Flame Trees of Thika".

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