Phoebe Somers (d 1995) was raised in Hove and trained at Brighton College of Art. For 18 years she was in charge of the art department of Berkhamsted Girls' Grammar School before moving to East Africa, where she worked [c1952-1963?], first in Kenya High School, Nairobi, then in Government-run African secondary schools in Tanzania, inspecting a number of primary schools in both territories. During this and her subsequent period in Africa, she learnt fluent Swahili and travelled widely, initially through East Africa, then through East and Central Africa, including the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, during a four month tour in 1962, the Commonwealth countries of Southern Africa in 1965, and Kenya again in 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1976. A series of paintings recording her East African impressions was exhibited at the Commonwealth Institute, 1957.
She also spent a period in England, sitting for 7 years on the Cambridge O-level Art Marking Board and accepting a lectureship at the Commonwealth Institute. She was then appointed to start an art department at a teacher training college on Mount Kenya, and began her second residence in Africa. On her final return to England she gave talks on national and local radio and undertook a series of articles, with sketches, on inhabitants of her native Sussex.
Carbon copies of typescripts of broadcasts by Somers on African educational themes (1960s); paintings and drawings by Somers from her period as an art teacher in East Africa; small amount of correspondence and photographs (including a photograph of Somers).
Broadcasts, correspondence and photographs donated by Miss Somers in June 1990 and March 1991. Paintings and drawings purchased from her in March 1995.Access Conditions
Bodleian reader's ticket required.Reproduction Restrictions
No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.
The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.
Somers | Phoebe Helen | d 1955 | art teacher
Art teachers | Africa, East
Education | Africa