The British Empire Library

Mr Burpington Presides

by Jack Brendon

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by D.S.
I have not enjoyed reading a book so much for many a year. Jack Brendon has a great sense of humour and has created here highly amusing caricatures of the types often found in the remoter districts of the colonies in our days. They are easily identified with many that one met.

The author himself describes the book in the following terms: "This is meant to be a fun book about an era and a British Colony which no longer exists. The characters who trip through the pages are fictitious but some of the events recorded are almost true. The book has been written in an attempt to make us laugh at ourselves and it is hoped that no one of whatever race, colour or creed will find it offensive. If anyone does, the author will bow his head in sorrow - and disbelief."

The story itself is that of a young bachelor ADO who arrives to take up his post in one of the remoter districts of Central Africa. His introduction to the local community and the characters who took him in hand remind me very much of my own experiences on arrival in Africa in the early '50's - with no more than permissible exaggeration. Mr. Burpington then arrives to take command - and to exert his (and Mrs. Burpington's) authority. Later anecdotes describe a visit to the District by the Governor, Sir David Jones-Morgan, and his Lady during which eventful experiences are most amusingly portrayed: in particular the visit to the chiefs place where the provision of suitable 'private' accommodation presents no more than a passing problem. You will also find out why Prince Phillip paid no cattle for the Queen's hand in marriage!

Having spent hours presiding over local disputes in district courts I can understand, too, Mr. Burpington's frustration when numerous minor disageements which have little bearing on the issue are described at length in verbal evidence. How often have we all suffered in like manner.

But I will tell you no more: I do not want to spoil it for you. It is such good value.

British Empire Book
Jack Brendon
Howard Timmins Publishers


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