Lavington is a high net worth hood northwest of Nairobi, where those in the two-comma digit income category live.
In the beginning however, it was the home of St Austin’s Mission of the French Holy Ghost Fathers, who pitched tent there when Bishop Emile Allgeyer, Fr Alain Hémery and Br Blanchard Dillenseger planted their Catholic church on August 12, 1899,a Saturday.
Before its current name, the area was known as St Austin’s Mission and was once surrounded by coffee plantations.
Today, among its famous addresses include St Austin’s Academy, Strathmore, St Mary’s School, Loreto Convent, Lavington Primary School, Nairobi International School, Rusinga School and Braeside High School.
There is also the Lavington United Church founded in 1960 through a joint effort of the Anglican Church, the Methodist Church and the PCEA for the Lavington community.
The two plots on which the church sits were given for free by the Buchannan’s Kenya Estates, makers of Scottish Black and White whiskey. One plot was for Anglicans and the other for Presbyterians as there were few Methodists in Nairobi then.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit and shortage of manpower and money, the three protestant churches combined efforts, with the Methodists providing the most money. Kenya Governor Sir Patrick Renison opened it on June 4, 1960.
There is also the famous Lavington Green shopping centre where Happy Butchery and Kengele’s, the first of the franchise, have been serving clients for donkey years.
The Green in the name is not by fluke. Lavington still brags the most number of indigenous trees anywhere in Nairobi. You can also have a cold one at Eduardo Debastiani’s, aptly named, I am @Work Bar!
The Lavington Hill House, now a boutique hotel, was previously leased by its owner, Henderson Magare, to the late liberation hero John Garang of South Sudan as his official residence in 2004, before his death in a plane crash in 2005. Kenya was a British colony, hence the name Lavington – There is Lavington in New South Wales, Australia, in British Columbia, Canada and Lincolshire, England.
Indeed, Lavington was where most odieros lived. Racial segregation saw Africans condemned to the black cotton soils on the plains of Eastlands, while Asians lived in Pangani, Park Road, Ngara and Highridge. Mzungus lived in high-altitude leafy suburbs north and west of Nairobi in areas like Muthaiga, Karen, Westlands and Lavington, where red volcanic soils ensured year-round foliage and flooding was a rumour. Odieros really feared lions and flooding, which created swamps where mosquitos, bred causing malaria!
Did you know Lavington estate was named by colonialists after British politician, Ralph Payne, the first Baron Lavington?
Baron Lavingon was, among others things, the Governor of the Leeward islands, while his father was Chief Justice of St Kitts. The name of his peerage was fleshed from their home area of Lavington in Wiltshire, England.
Baron Lavington, though scion of a wealthy family and with an affluent estate named after him in Kenya, died poor and childless inside his government house in Leeward islands on August 3, 1807 – when Kenya was not a country but a geographical expression.
He was 68 years old at the time. His wife, Lady Lavington, survived on an annual government stipend of £300 (Sh39,000). Never mind, Baron Lavington was the sole heir of his cucu, inheriting Carlisles estate in Leeward island, where he was buried according to family biographer WP Courteny.