Michael Blundell

Sir Michael Blundell KBE (7 April 1907 – 1 February 1993) was a Kenyan farmer and politician who served as a member of the Legislative Council from 1948 until 1963, and as Minister of Agriculture in two spells between 1955 and 1962.

Sir Michael Blundell
Member of the Legislative Council
In office
1948–1963
ConstituencyRift Valley
Minister on Emergency War Committee
In office
1954–1955
Minister of Agriculture
In office
1955–1959
Minister of Agriculture
In office
1961–1962
Personal details
Born7 April 1907
London, United Kingdom
Died1 February 1993(1993-02-01) (aged 85)
Nairobi, Kenya
Political partyNew Kenya Party (1959–63)
United Country Party (1954–57)
SpouseGeraldine Robarts
Children1 daughter
Military service
Years of service1940–?
RankOfficer
UnitKing's African Rifles

BiographyEdit

Blundell was born in London in 1907,[1] and was educated at Wellington College in Berkshire.[2] After leaving school he moved to Kenya in 1925, taking a job on a farm in the west of the colony.[1] He went on to become a farm manager in Solai, before buying his own farm in the area. During World War II he joined the British Army in 1940, becoming an officer in the King's African Rifles.[1] He was awarded an MBE in 1943.[3]

After the war he bought a farm at Subukia and married Geraldine Robarts in 1946, with whom he had a daughter.[4] He ran in the Rift Valley seat in the 1948 general elections, and was elected to the Legislative Council with 50.6% of the vote. He was returned unopposed in the 1952 general elections, and became leader of the elected European members in the same year.[4] In 1954 he was appointed Minister on Emergency War Council, and formed the United Country Party, which supported the Lyttleton Constitution and multi-racialism, although it opposed common roll elections and the opening of the White Highlands to other races.[5] The following year Blundell was appointed Minister of Agriculture. He was re-elected again in 1956. During his tenure as Minister he oversaw a plan to grant land titles to the Kikuyu to resolve the Mau Mau Uprising.[4]

In 1959 Blundell founded the New Kenya Group, which later became the New Kenya Party, the first multi-racial party in Kenya.[6] He left the cabinet in the same year, but after being re-elected in the 1961 general elections, returned to the post of Minister of Agriculture. However, after the 1962 Lancaster House Conference he retired from politics, not standing in the 1963 elections. He was subsequently awarded a KBE in 1964.[4]

Following his retirement from politics, Blundell returned to farming and served as chairman of Egerton Agricultural College between 1962 and 1972. He also wrote several books, two memoirs and two books on flowers. He died in Nairobi on 1 February 1993.[4]

BibliographyEdit

  • So Rough a Wind (1964, memoir)
  • The Wild Flowers of Kenya (1982)
  • Collins Guide to the Wild Flowers of East Africa (1987)
  • A Love Affair with the Sun (1994, memoir)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Robert M. Maxon & Thomas P. Ofcansky (2014) Historical Dictionary of Kenya, Rowman & Littlefield, p37
  2. ^ "Collection Level Description: Papers of Sir Michael Blundell". Bodleian Library. University of Oxford. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Supplement to The London Gazette – Issue 36083 – Page 3085". The London Gazette. 6 July 1943. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Johnson, John (19 February 1993). "Obituary: Sir Michael Blundell". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  5. ^ Maxon & Ofcansky, p336
  6. ^ Maxon & Ofcansky, p254