This article deals with the question of how issues of late colonial housing in Zambia were passed through various segments and between various layers of an encompassing colonial administration. It is equally about the question how the researcher retraces that process of administering housing. The main argument is that a discourse clad in techno-scientific language in the colonial metropole assumed undertones of development and morality in the colony. The text pays particular attention to the bureaucratic individuals seizing opportunities – often in cooperation with one or two colleagues, or across racial dividing lines. Furthermore, the contribution ponders on the significance of the researcher's encounters with both archival staff in London and Lusaka as through these interactions initial research agendas become redirected and adjusted.