Kenya's Happy Valley

The ‘Happy Valley set’ of the 1920’s and 1930’s were a group of louche remittance men and women of mainly Anglo-Saxon heritage who had settled in Kenya, solely focussed on their own amusement. Wild drunken parties were the norm- key parties and so on. The music hall joke of the thirties ‘are you married or do you live in Kenya?’ resulted from their behaviour. The film ‘White Mischief’ was based on this group. They moved from farms in the Wanjohe and nearby Gil-gil to the flesh pots of Nairobi. The group disintegrated in 1941, when Lord Errol, one of the leading lights of the group, was murdered. The billiard table on which Lord Errol was rumoured to have pleasured Lady Delamere is still ensconced in the Muthaiga Club in Nairobi. Ref: google for more info.

The remittance men (and women) were often the ‘black sheep’ of aristocratic British families, who had misbehaved in some way and had been banished, often to places like Kenya.

(The title of the first book of my ‘Winds of Change’ trilogy: ‘No Happy Valley’ is a reference to this group, which had long disintegrated by the time we arrived there in 1946).

Guy Hallowes