Historical Tour of the City Centre: Part 1
Nairobi Gallery & Kenyatta Avenue
Hello and welcome to our historical tour of Nairobi’s city centre. This tour is the first of a two part series. My name is Benedict and I'll be your guide.
Imagine a doctor riding a zebra while making house calls. Or an eccentric aristocrat riding his horse into a hotel restaurant. Or better yet, a former US president nearly causing a diplomatic incident after a drinking spree.
Well, I’ll take you back to a time when these and other interesting incidents happened in Nairobi.
If you are standing in front of the Nairobi Gallery, at the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Uhuru Highway, then you are at the right place.
The Nairobi Gallery is a gazetted national monument. Its entrance leads to an octagonal atrium with doors to various rooms. The atrium is Point Zero. Distances between Nairobi and other towns were measured from this spot.
The house was built in 1913 by the colonial government. Initially it served as the registry where records of births, marriages and deaths were kept. White settlers fondly called it Hatches, Matches, and Dispatches.
Later on it became the Nairobi Provincial Commissioner’s office. The colonial Governor also worked from here. When Nyayo House was completed next door in 1983, the Provincial administration moved there. This building was then taken over by the National Museums of Kenya and renamed Nairobi Gallery.
It currently hosts a part of the massive Murumbi African Heritage Collection, and temporary art exhibitions by local and foreign artists. To learn more about Murumbi and his legacy, be sure to listen to the second part of this tour. I would also recommend you take a tour of the Nairobi Gallery.
Okay, let's get moving. Turn round so the gallery is behind you, and the roundabout is on your left-hand side. Then cross Kenyatta Avenue. I'll meet you on the opposite corner.
VoiceMap uses GPS to pinpoint your location and trigger the relevant audio. This means you can now put your phone away and relax. I will tell you where to go.