This article examines the Lady Kennaway assisted emigration scheme, designed to send women from Ireland's workhouses to the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony in Southern Africa. First proposed by Colonial Secretary Henry Labouchere in 1857, the scheme's purpose was to provide wives for the British German Legion, which had been resettled to British Kaffraria the previous year. Initially, the plan appeared to be of benefit for both Ireland and the Cape Colony. According to colonial officials and emigration commissioners, Ireland would be rid of a superfluous population, the Irish women would attain social and economic advancement, and the Eastern Cape would gain much-needed female settlers. Emigration authorities quickly found their optimism tempered by realities, however, as many Irish Poor Law guardians and workhouse women refused to participate. The Lady Kennaway scheme—so named after the ship that carried the emigrants—demonstrates the ways in which local interests could, and often did, shape imperial practices. Moreover, in tracking the decisions of emigration commissioners in London, colonial officials in Southern Africa, Poor Law guardians in Ireland, and potential female emigrants, this analysis reveals the multitude of individuals who molded Britain's mid-nineteenth-century imperial project.