Thursday, 11 November 2010

A New Acquisition: 1945 Guidebook for Luxor and Upper Egypt

Yesterday, on the advice of my good friends David Smith and Helen Murphy, I picked up a small, yet perfectly preserved paperback Guidebook of Egypt from Reids of Liverpool Bookstore, entitled "The Latest Pocket Guidebook to Luxor & Environments, Including also Tutankhamun", for the princely sum of £8 [Apologies for the quality of the images, I didn't use a flash].

It was written by N. F. Mansfield-Meade, an English resident of Luxor, who describes the volume as "Historically Accurate, Beautifully Illustrated, Lucid & Interesting". This is the 1945 (5th) Edition, but the 1st Edition was written in 1926; four years after Howard Carter's discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun.

The book itself of course is a treat: there is a pull-out map of Karnak Temple, and images of sites dating to the 1920's which are archival records in themselves; the quiet image of the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx a stark contrast to the modern-day visitor experience of the Giza Plateau. 

 However, it is not just the book which interested me. This guidebook was evidently used by a certain British Serviceman in Egypt post-1945: a black-and-white photograph of a saluting patrol was tucked in the back, together with a leaflet for the YMCA Club and Hostel, Ismailia, "Open to all Services and Services Families". I'm not entirely sure who this book  belonged to (though I will be pursuing this further), but nevertheless I'm delighted to be the new owner of this little piece of history. 


  1. Hello Anna. My father stayed in that YMCA hostel at some point

    as well as the one in Jerusalem. During 1940-1944 he was in

    Egypt and the Middle East and recorded his time there in

    If you are interested You might like to look at the following


    The Voyage Out




    Jerusalem to Aleppo (this covers visits from arrival and

    training to departure)




    Memphis and Sakkara








    Good luck with your Ph.D


  2. Hi Barry, thanks so much for taking the time to send that information - I'm so interested in the history of this book and those images go a long way in improving my knowledge of the British presence in Egypt during the 1940's. It's great that you have such a good record of your father's time in Egypt, and thanks for sharing it with me. Take care, Anna


Yan Tan Tethera: A rhyme derived from a Brythonic Celtic language used by shepherds to keep sheep in many parts of England and Southern Scotland.

Until the Industrial Revolution, the use of traditional number systems was common among shepherds, especially in the Dales of the Lake District.

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