Resplendent yet stony-faced in a ceremonial leopard skin, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan looks on as he is installed as Honorary Paramount Chief at Pietersburg in South Africa. Later, and perhaps more comfortable in his dark suit, he is welcomed by young boys as he tours a new housing estate in Lagos, Nigeria.

The images are among thousands depicting life in British colonial Africa that are being released by the National Archives in the hope that members of the public will be able to help identify some of the lesser-known people and places depicted.

Ranging from the 1860s through to the 1960s, the pictures were taken by staff of the Colonial Office to educate people in the UK about the continent, as well as to provide propaganda images of a united British Empire.

Also included are portraits of tribesmen and women in their traditional dress, football players at the Railway training school in Nairobi in East Africa during the 1950s, and sketches from the Boer War and early expeditions in Abyssinia.

Though carefully preserved, many bear no captions or background information. People with any information about the photos can leave their comments on the website.

'Africa Through A Lens: The Colonial Office Photographic Collection' can be viewed online at: