British Malaya in the 1930s

(20 May 2015) The Royal Commonwealth Society collections have created an online catalogue for a recent acquisition, the archives of the railway engineer Hugh Murton Le Fleming.  He worked as an inspector for the Crown Agents for the Colonies, checking and testing steam locomotives before they were shipped out to their customers across the world.

In 1929 Le Fleming accepted employment with the Federated Malay States Railways (FMSR) as District Locomotive Superintendent at Ipoh, and two years later transferred to its Central Workshops in Kuala Lumpur.

Hugh was an accomplished amateur photographer and artist, and the collection preserves over 800 photographs and postcards recording travels with his wife Rosalind and the people they encountered, as well as images of Hugh’s paintings of butterflies, landscapes and steam engines. Some of Hugh’s work appeared in promotional material for the FMSR and his wife Rosalind wrote an extended memoir reflecting upon their experiences.

This rich and varied collection will offer much to those interested in the social, cultural and natural history of British Malaya. To view the online catalogue, please click this link.

The illustrated announcement is here.