top of page

1900: Relief of Mafeking

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Lord Roberts ('Bobs') arrives at Cape Town (date unknown May 1900?) Colourised image by CC.

Relief of Mafeking celebrations


Cuckfield was gaily adorned with flags in honour of the auspicious occasion, and the church balls rang a peal, and service was held, at which a large congregation was present. In the evening the Town Band played in the High-street, and then was orgased a torchlight procession. At the conclusion of the proceedings Mr Walter Lloyd addressed the assembly, and cheers were given for Col. Baden-Powell and Lord Roberts.


A profuse display of bunting testified to the universal joy the relief of Mafeking occasioned. The principal event was a torch1ight procession in the evening, during which £1 10s. was collected for the Mafeking Relief.

Burgess Hill

The utmost enthusiasm was manifested here on the reception of the joyful nows. Flags and bunting were everywhere abundant, and on Tuesday the auspicions event was celebrated by holding a grand procesiion and sports and decorated cycle parade. Mr ST Maynard, (I.C., acted as marshal throughout the proceedings, and the procession, which was an imposing one and of great length, was headed by the Burgess Hill Town Band. A thanksgiving service was held at St. John's Church. The offertory, which was on behalf of Lady Curson's Mafeking Relief Fund, realised over £11, and the National Anthem was song at the close of the service. The proceedings wound up with a grand display of fireworks at the Victoria Gardens and with dancing, which took place in the large hall to the strains of Mr L Finch's String Bond, from Haywards.

Sussex Agricultural Express, 26 May 1900

Photograph caption: Lord Roberts Stepping on the gangway from the 'Dunott Castle' on his arrival at Cape Town. Wikimedia public domain image.

It Is not hard to imagine the feeling of relief and hope with which Lord Roberts's arrival at Cape Town was welcomed throughout British South Africa. The confidence that had been placed until then in our generals at the front had been rudely shaken by a succession of defeats and disasters. With the coming of " Bobs" and Lord Kitchener it was hoped that a new era would begin. So it proved. January 10th was the date of their arrival. On February 15th Kimberley was relieved ; on February 27th Cronje and his army of four thousand men surrendered; Ladysmith was relieved on the following day; Bloemfontein was occupied on March 13th. Mafeking was relieved on May 15th; on June 5th Pretoria was ours.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details



bottom of page