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Percy Powell-Cotton’s Safari Suit

Traditional Khaki travelling suit of clothes for use in tropical climates. Made up of a jacket, trousers, walking boots and a sun hat. The trouser legs are wrapped in cotton strips to hold the trousers tight and prevent insect bites. The jacket has many pockets for holding ammunition and other small travelling essentials.


This is the suit Percy wore whilst on an expedition to the Congo and when he was attacked by a Lion. It is connected to Kent because the lion attack was a huge event in this area; it was recorded in newspapers and Percy was often asked to recall the event at dinners and talks. It has also been chosen because it illustrates the kit of a Victorian Explorer.

Powell-Cotton Museum

Powell-Cotton Museum,
Quex House and Gardens,
Quex Park,


Percy Powell-Cotton wore the suit during a lion hunt whilst in the Congo in 1906. Having shot the lion, Percy followed it into the bush, where it attacked him. Percy was saved by a copy of ‘Punch’ magazine that was tucked into the waistband of his trousers and prevented the lion mauling him. One of his gun bearers then shot the lion, which was later turned into the famous taxidermy display ‘the lion and the buffalo’. Percy’s suit was never washed and still shows the rips and blood from the encounter.

Curriculum Links:

  • KS1: Local History, Significant Individuals, Artists, Craft Makers and Designers
  • KS2: Local History, Artists, Architects and Designers in History
  • KS3: Local History, Britain 1745-1901, History of Art, Craft, Design and Architecture


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