Oct 152020

2 Palmerston Road, Edinburgh EH9 1TL

2 Palmerston Road, site of Colonial House

In the 1940s, ‘Colonial House’ at 2 Palmerston Road was the residence of “all sorts of colonial persons” and was the location for meetings of both the Afro-Scottish and the Edinburgh African Association. These hostels were cheaper than private accommodation and offered relief from loneliness. “Above all, the hostels eliminated that spectre of colonial student life: ‘the intolerant or grasping landlady.” Julius Nyerere stayed at Colonial House when he arrived to study Economics and History at Edinburgh on a colonial scholarship in 1949. At the time, he was one of only two East African students in Scotland. Nyerere led Tanganyika to independence in 1961 and was President of Tanzania (the name given to the territory after the 1964 union with Zanzibar) until 1985. At Edinburgh, Nyerere took courses in Political Economy, Social Anthropology, Economic and British History, and Moral Philosophy. Margaret Bell, who taught him British History, commented that his writing style was often “the best in her group.” According to historian Tom Molony, “Edinburgh was a place where Nyerere enjoyed new levels of intellectual freedom.” Today, Nyerere is remembered for his elaboration of African Socialism, which informed his plans for the social and economic development of Tanzania.

Julius Nyerere
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