Brief History
Government Steamers
In 1914, the area of Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria were united. This was mainly due to the growing international tension and war with Germany. In fact, Nigeria would be used as a base of operations against the German colony of Cameroon in 1914/15.

Nigeria with its natural resources and high population density was one of the more profitable and economic colonies. It also produced goods that were not in competition with the white settler agrarian colonies which meant that it could avoid the worst of excesses of the depression in the 1930s which hurt the standard commodoties more than the exotic products of Nigeria.

Vice-Consulate on Benin River
World War two was to further cement the economic well being of the colony as it good provide products to the empire from a safe base. Other than U-boats there was no strategic threat to the colony in this war.

The relative wealth for the colony made it a clear candidate for one of the first African nations to be granted independence. The fact that Nigeria had pioneered the indirect form of rule bequeathed by Lugard, also meant that its transition would be easier than most other colonies as they still pretty much maintained the old power structures intact. Consequently, Nigeria was federated in 1954 and made fully independent in 1960.

Imperial Flag
Northern Nigeria
Southern Nigeria
map of Nigeria
1895 West Africa Map
1896 Hausaland Map
1913 Map of Africa
1914 Map of Nigeria
1924 Political Map of Nigeria
1925 Map of Nigeria
1929 Map of West Africa
1961 Map of Lagos Region (NB 31)
1956 Map of SE Nigeria (NB 32)
1955 Map of Western Nigeria (NC 31)
1955 Map of Kaduna Region (NC 32)
1955 Map of Eastern Nigeria (NC 33)
1955 Map of Northern Nigeria (ND 32)
1955 Map of Lake Chad and Fort Lamy (ND 33)
1956 Map of Nigeria
Map of Eastern Nigeria, 1958
Historical Nigeria
Images of Nigeria
National Archive Nigeria Images
Nigerian Field Society Interviews Memories of Nigeria Interviews completed in 2000.

Queen's 1956 Tour of Nigeria

The Oil-Palm of Nigeria, 1928
This information film illustrates the production of the oil-palm as the then most important export from Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria, 1930
An amateur silent film illustrating the people and places of northern Nigeria,

1914 - 1954
sheet music
Pre-1978 Anthem of Nigeria
Thanks to Michael Jamieson Bristow
Empire's Last Officers
A BBC audio program about a Colonial British Officer in Nigeria
The Nigeria Magazine
Nigeria Magazine, 1937
Nigeria Magazine, 1938 Q1
Nigeria Magazine, 1938 Q2
Nigeria Magazine, 1938 Q3
Nigeria Magazine, 1938 Q4
Nigeria Magazine, 1939 Q1
Nigeria Magazine, 1939 Q2
Nigeria Magazine, 1939 Q3
Nigeria Magazine, 1940 Q1
Nigeria Magazine, 1940 Q2
Nigeria Magazine, 1944
Nigeria Magazine, 1946 Q1
Nigeria Magazine, 1946 Q2
Nigeria Magazine, 1947
Nigeria Magazine, 1948 Q1
Nigeria Magazine, 1948 Q2
Nigeria Magazine, 1949
Mister Johnson
Sanders of the River
Letters Home
Keith Arrowsmith has kindly made available the letters that he sent to his parents after he arrived to work with the Colonial Service in Nigeria in 1949 and 1950.

Odd Jobs and Diplomatic Interludes
Dogon Yaro gives some examples of the sheer variety of work for a Provincial Officer in Northern Nigeria from the immediate Post-War period and on into post-independence Nigeria.

An African Experience in Retrospect
Malcolm F Anderson spent two decades living and working in Nigeria as a surveyor. The fact that his career straddled the colonial and independence periods has allowed him to evaluate the relative merits of the two systems. He had stayed on in Nigeria with the best of intentions but explains how his professional frustrations slowly increased and undermined the important work he was doing in helping Nigeria to develop and transition to a more modern economy.

Gordon Aitken Citation
An example of the difficulties faced by the Colonial Police Force in Nigeria in the 1950s and how its officers responded.

Bush Paths: Nigeria 1949 - 1957
Keith Arrowsmith gives an insight into the roles and responsibilities of an Assitant District Officer and District Officer in Eastern Nigeria in the 1950s.

Notes on My Time in Northern Nigeria: January 1948 - August 1960
Robert Longmore has written a full account of his time working as a Colonial Officer in Northern Nigeria in the Post-War period right up to Nigerian Independence.

In Our Defence
John Smith considers just how fairly the history of the British Empire will be considered and relates how even Chinua Achebe credited British Imperial rule with giving some very real benefits to Nigeria.

On Tour - but in London!
John Smith gives an account of one of his more unusual tours as a Colonial Civil Servant when he was required to travel to London no less. He was to accompany the Governor of Northern Nigeria to the important 1957 Nigerian Constitutional Conference. This was part of a series of meetings to discuss the constitutional arrangements for Nigeria's forthcoming independence.

The Bijou Rest Houses of the North
Malcolm F Anderson explains the realities for a surveyor in finding suitable accommodation in the more remote parts of Northern Nigeria. The humble and often very basic 'Rest House' was the Colonial Government's solution, but the facilities found within these constructs could range from the primitive rustic to the almost non-existent.

The Baro Line
Former Colonial Service Medical Officer T.P. Eddy explains how he had to use an old fashioned and rickety 2 stroke rail waggon to travel through tropical Nigeria to visit a sick patient. The journey and his welcome made quite an impression.

The Nigerian Marine's War Effort
Captain Aubrey Dennis explains the important role played by the Nigerian Marine Department during the Second World War. He highlights the setbacks they suffered and the successes scored. He also recounts the role his own wife played in potentially saving his life after she decoded a message detailing the danger to a ship the author was due to pilot.

Trekking in Northern Nigeria, 1959
R G Lowe explains what it was like to undertake an expedition into the forests of central Nigeria in 1959. He goes into detail about the role of carriers and the kind of equipment they took and how they lived off the land whenever possible. The logistics of a government foot expedition were considerable to say the least.

Making Forest Reserves in Bornu - Northern Nigeria - 1956
R G Lowe recounts the practicalities of creating Forest Reserves. Using excerpts from his diaries he recounts the physical difficulties of marking out the boundaries and the lengths that they went to in order to explain the advantages to the local population.

Letter From West Africa
Greta Lowe volunteered to work in the Methodist Mission Society Hospital in Ilesha, Nigeria in the 1920s. This fascinating letter gives an account of her journey to this remote imperial spot, a meeting with the king of the region and life in and around a mission hospital.

The Day's Work and Odd Jobs: The Rogue Elephant
Ronald Bird gives an example of some of the dangerous jobs that a colonial administrator in Nigeria could be called upon to undertake on any given day.

Pioneer Nigeria
A former Colonial Agricultural Officer gives a brief overview of how an inspection regime was developed to help the farmers of Nigeria during the period of British control.

Who's Afraid?
Janet Wimbush recalls her time coming down from Plateau Province in Central Nigeria and coming across a real clash of cultures with tribesmen unused to European women.

The Bauchi Light
A. S. Webb gives an account of differences between local and western medical treatment along a Central Nigerian railway linking the plains to the plateau.

Our Side of the Tracks
Dr. T. P. Eddy explains the social divisions that were made apparent to all colonial servants in the inter-war years. He himself though explains how he was able to learn a little more about divisions in English society whilst talking to a locomotive superintendent in the middle of Nigeria.

The Fulani Boys at Jingari
A. S. Webb recalls the time he was on an inspection tour of the Bauchi Light Railway in Nigeria and was forced to have a layover in Jingari where he met missionaries with a remarkable tale of survival by two local boys attacked by a wild animal.

Journey to Yola, 1929
B.A. Babb takes us back to a time in Nigerian colonial history when just getting to a new posting could take weeks of arduous travelling.

He Needs a White Cloth
A. S. Webb explains some of the finer subtleties in negotiating local customs when it came to the death of a man in a railway workshop in Nigeria.

Iron Smelting in Northern Nigeria
H D L Corby describes a novel way of smelting iron that he saw developed in a small Northern Nigerian village.

A Nigerian Garden
Muriel Barnett recalls the perils, pitfalls but also the pleasures of doing battle with mother nature in the tropics.

In Bornu and Adamawa
Ronald Bird gives an overview of work as an Assistant District Officer in North-East Nigeria along the border with French concerns in the Cameroons and Chad.

Rescuing Miners on the Niger
Ronald Bird explains the time and effort required to respond to a message that miners were being held hostage on a small island in the middle of the mighty River Niger and how they got there just in time.

Niger Adventure - 1947
Joan Russell recalls an inspection tour of some of the schools in her district in Nigeria which required that she travel by canoe along the River Niger.

The Imoten Tree Story
R. F. Hooper explains the lengths that he had to go to when rioting broke out after locals in Nigeria blamed a French trader's wares for causing a hurricane.

An ADO in Zuru
N. C. McClintock goes into some detail in describing his life as an Assistant District Officer in a remote part of North Western Nigeria in the 1940s.

Historical Background to Boko Haram
John Hare explains how the North-East of Nigeria was no stranger to religious upheaval and radical Islamic influences. In fact, this instability was one of the reasons that the British were to create the colony of Northern Nigeria in the first place.

Nigeria: Life with Algar Robertson
Marjorie Lovatt Smith gives a candid account of her time in Nigeria in the dying days of Empire as she witnessed first hand as Britain prepared to hand over responsibility and authority to the Nigerians. She also recounts part of the role played by Algar Robertson in helping establish a central overseas civil service, with its own pension scheme, for officers serving in the colonies.

Bussa Rapids
Ronald Bird explains how he tried to revolutionise communications along the River Niger's most notorious stretch of rapids by attaching an outboard motor to the traditional boats that plied the waterways.

The Resident, Rivers Province
Manus Nunan explains how he helped set up the first Crown Counsel's Chambers in Port Harcourt in Eastern Nigeria and his dealings with an old-school British Resident.

Singing for my Supper
David Angus explains that when you are the ADC to a Governor-General and he asks you to sing unaccompanied to a party of over 100 dignataries in Northern Nigeria, you do exactly as requested.

Crichton Ian Gavin: A Man Vindicated
R G Anderson sees how this Nigerian colonial administrator was one of the early victims of the authorities pandering to local politicians who did not appreciate Gavin's efficiency and honesty.

The Day's Work and Odd Jobs: Rough Games in Gwoza
Ronald Bird recounts how he had to administer justice between two warring and rambunctious villages in post-war North-Eastern Nigeria.

Le Ministre
Manus Nunan recalls the time that he went from British administered Nigeria to French administered Chad and considered the differences in approach to imperial rule in West Africa.

"Uh, uh! D.O. done come!"
John Adshead recounts how Hugh Sackville-West showed the soft power of British rule in Nigeria in quelling disturbances tactfully and with a minimum of fuss.

Major O'Driscoll
Manus Nunan explains the character of Major O'Driscoll who served in Kaduna in Northern Nigeria.

Curtains in Kaduna
Ruth Holmes recalls accompanying her husband to Kaduna in Nigeria in the 1950s and attempting to use local materials and fabrics to decorate her house only to discover that one pattern in particular had an alternative and already established association.

The Day's Work and Odd Jobs: The Queen's visit to Jos
Ronald Bird remembers how he was expected to 'fit in' when the Queen came to the town where he was posted for a break from her hectic 1956 tour of Nigeria schedule.

Nigeria and the Colonial Experience Reflections of a District Officer
Sir Francis Kennedy analyses the, at times, contradictory contribution made by colonialism in West Africa and its legacy in the post-colonial era.

Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Day
Keith Arrowsmith explains his attempts to celebrate the national holiday called in Nigeria to celebrate the crowning of Queen Elizabeth.

Legacies from the former Colonial Audit Service
Professor Jeffrey Ridley describes the establishment of the Colonial Audit Service and his own role in Nigeria before discussing the legacy to the wider Commonwealth of this organisation.

Further Reading
From Measles To Magic Memoirs Of A Medical Officer In Northern Nigeria 1957-1964
by Dr. Kathleen Abraham

I Am Directed: The Lighter Side of the Civil Service
by Augustus Adebayo

One Leg, One Wing
by Augustus Adebayo

White Man in Black Skin
by Augustus Adebayo

Our unforgettable years
by Simeon Ola Adebo

Imperial Policing: the Emergence and Role of the Police in Colonial Nigeria 1860-1960
by Philip Terdoo Ahire

Life in the White Man’s Grave: A Pictorial Study of the British in West Africa
by Philip Allison

The Geographic Labourers of Arewa: The Story of the Northern Nigerian Survey
edited by Malcolm Anderson

Palm Wine and Leopard’s Whiskers – Reminiscences of Eastern Nigeria
edited by R G Anderson

Bush Paths
by Keith Arrowsmith

The Changing Scenes of Life: from the Colonial Service to the European Civil Service
by Keith Arrowsmith

An African Life: Tales of a Colonial Officer
by M. C. A. Atkinson

Nigerian Tales Of The Colonial Era
by M. C. A. Atkinson

Trade Winds on the Niger: Saga of the Royal Niger Company, 1830-1971
by Geoffrey Baker

Into Africa And Out - Northern Nigeria 1956 - 1962
by David Ball

A Rough Passage: Memories of Empire - Volume 1 and Volume 2
by Ken Barnes

An Imperial Twilight
by Sir Gawain Bell

Mad Dogs and Englishmen…
by Erick Berry

Lucky Me - Memoirs Of A Former District Officer In Nigeria
by Frank Bex

Lasting Legacy: A Story of British Colonialism
by Kenneth Blackburne

Gentleman Rider: A Life of Joyce Cary
by Alan Bishop

JuJu and Justice
by John Blair

In the service of Nigeria
by A. F. B. Bridges

So We Used to Do
by A. F. B. Bridges

The One-eyed Man is King
by Ian Brook

A Copper In Calabar: Experiences Of A Student, Soldier And Policeman In South And West Africa 1920s-1950s
by Harry Brun

Colonial Civil Servant
by Sir Alan Burns

Gender, Culture and Empire: European Women in Colonial Nigeria
by Helen Callaway

My Tanganyika Service and Some Nigeria
by Sir Donald Cameron

Letters from Nigeria
by David Carnegie

From Kaduna to Kirakira: Letters Home from Overseas: A Record of Nine Years in Northern Nigeria and the British Solomon Islands Protectorate
by Jennifer Cawte

Good Second Class: (But Not Even C3) Memories of a Generalist Overseas Administrator
by Trevor Clark

A Right Honourable Gentleman: Abubakar From The Black Rock
by Trevor Clark

Was It Only Yesterday? The Last Generation Of Nigeria's 'Turawa'
by Trevor Clark

Teacher and Friend: Memoirs of an Education Officer in Colonial Africa
by John D. Clarke

Khaki and Blue: Military and Police in British Colonial Africa
by Anthony Clayton and David Killingray

Nigeria: A Critique of British Colonial Administration
by Sir Walter Russell

On Governing Colonies: Being an Outline of Real Issues and a Comparison of the British, French and Belgian Approach to them
by Sir Walter Russell

Travelling Back: The Memoirs of Sir Walter Crocker
by Sir Walter Russell

Knotted Round My Heart: Recollections of Life in Nigeria 1952-59
by Peggy Crosskey

Not Bad for a Foreigner
by Jean Evans

On Horseback Through Nigeria
by Jean Falconer

A Start in Freedom
by Hugh Foot

Two African journals & other papers of the late John Morton Fremantle
edited by A F Fremantle

Clifford: Imperial Proconsul
by Harry A. Gailey

Sir Donald Cameron, Colonial Governor
by Harry A. Gailey

Via Ports: from Hong Kong to Hong Kong
by Sir Alexander Grantham

With a Rod in Four Continents
by Iain Gunn

War Bush: 81 (West African) Division in Burma 1943-1945
by John A L Hamilton

Nigerian Sketches
by Edwin Haig

Last Man In: The End Of Empire In Northern Nigeria
by John Hare

Scrapbook of 50 years in Nigeria
by Joe Harold

Letters from a Long Distance Marriage 1940-1957
by Jane Harrison

Nigerian Days
by A C Hastings

Africa Called: Science And Development In Nigeria
by Alan Hayward

Life On The Rocks
by Robin Hazell

All Our Yesterdays: Memories of a Forester in Nigeria, 1950 - 62
by P.W.T. Henry

Ju-ju and Justice in Nigeria
by Frank Hives

Justice in the Jungle
by Frank Hives

Momo and I
by Frank Hives

Thomas Hodgkin: Letters from Africa, 1947-56
Edited by Elizabeth Hodgkin

A Scorpion for Tea: Or, to Attempt the Impossible
by Rosemary Hollis

Tropical Africa, 1908-1944,: Memoirs of a period
by Eric Hussey

The History of the Nigerian Railway: Opening the Nation to Sea, Air and Road Transportation
by Francis Jaekel

Harmattan: A Wind of Change: Life and Letters from Northern Nigeria at the End of Empire
by Carolyn Johnston

Tattered Battlements: A Fighter Pilot's Diary
by Tim Johnston

Dust Suspended: a Memoir of Colonial and Diplomatic Service Life 1953 to 1986
by Sir Francis Kennedy

Time and the Hour: Nigeria, East Africa and the Second World War
by R.T. Kerslake

'So Life Be' A Collection Of Memories Of West Africa
by Jack King

Stepping Stones: Memoirs of Colonial Nigeria 1907-1960
by Sylvia Leith-Ross

An Attempt
by R. H. Lewis

The Nigerian Field: A Short History Of The Nigerian Field Society 1930 - 2000
by Joyce Lowe

Kingdoms in the Sand and Sun
by N. C. McClintock

Travels in the White Man's Grave: Memoirs from West and Central Africa
by Donald Macintosh

Of No Fixed Abode: Account of Colonial Service in Nigeria and Fiji and of Subsequent Work in London and East Africa
by Kenneth Maddock

So Many Worlds
by Patricia Maddocks

The Jacaranda Children
by Margaret Mamaki

Like Father Like Son
by H.H. Marshall

Beating About the Nigerian Bush
by James Maslen

My Nigerian Journey
by Myra Meehan

Goodbye Maigida
by Myra Meehan

No Telephone to Heaven: From Apex to Nadir - Colonial Service in Nigeria, Aden, the Cameroons and the Gold Coast 1938-61
by Malcolm Milne

Colonial Postscript: The Diary of a District Officer
by John Morley

Wind of Chance
by Dr. Bruce M. Nicol

The Administration of Nigeria, 1900-1960: Men, Methods and Myths
by Nicolson, I.F.

Seven Rivers to Cross: A Mostly British Council Life
by Bruce Nightingale

Nigerian Kaleidoscope: Memoirs of a Colonial Servant
by Sir Rex Niven

Treks and Palavers
by R R Oakley

British Administration in Nigeria 1900-1950: A Nigerian View
by I M Okonjo

Tales of Nigeria
by Clementina Owles

Follow Up: Robert Hepburn Wright
by Robert Pearce

Sir Bernard Bourdillon: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Colonialist
by Robert Pearce

Then the Wind Changed in Africa: Nigerian Letters of Robert Hepburn Wright
by Robert Pearce

Business and Decolonization in West Africa, c 1940-1960
by Sir Frederick Pedler

Old Sinister: A Memoir of Sir Arthur Richards
by Richard Peel

West African Passage: A Journey Through Nigeria, Chad and the Cameroons, 1931-1932
by Margery Perham

Lugard: The Years of Adventure and Authority
by Margery Perham

No Weariness: The Memoir of a Generalist in Public Service in Four Continents 1919-2000
by am Scruton Richardson

Transition in Africa: from Direct Rule to Independence: A Memoir
by Sir James Robertson

Nigerian Memories
by Noel Rowling

Bush Life in Nigeria: An Account of the Experiences of the Wife of an Administrative Officer in Northern Nigeria from 1934-1944
by Elnor Russell

Come On, Eileen! Encounters And Experiences
by Eileen Sandford

A History of the Nigerian Health Services
by Ralph Schram

Special Forces Commander: The Life And Wars Of Peter Wand-Tetley OBE MC Commando, SAS, SOE & Paratrooper
by Michael Scott

England: An Elegy
by Roger Scruton

Footprints, the Memoirs of Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke
by Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke

But Always As Friends: Northern Nigeria And The Cameroons, 1921-1957
by Bryan Sharwood Smith

Diary of a Colonial Wife: An African Experience
by Joan Sharwood-Smith

It's Been a Pleasure
by Sandys Sherwood

Lake Chad Versus The Sahara Desert
by Sylvia K Sikes

At The End Of The Line: Colonial Policing And The Imperial Endgame 1945-80
by Georgina Sinclair

Burden assumed: The making of a Colonial Candide
by Neil Skinner

Burden at Sunset: Last Days of Empire
by Neil Skinner

Colonial Cadet in Nigeria
by John H Smith

Birds, Beasts and Bature
by Vic Smith

King George’s Keys
by Sir Robert Stanley

Times Remembered in Africa and the Caribbean
by Sir John Stow

The Police in Modern Nigeria, 1861-1965
by Tekena Tamuno

West African Interlude
by Richard Terrell

Peter Cook: A Biography
by Harry Thompson

Ladder of Bones
by Ellen Thorpe

A Surveyor And His Friends: A West African Odyssey
by W B Till

Under Three Masters: Memoirs of an African Administrator
by Jerome Udoji

Dark Subjects
by H L Ward Price

There is Only One Nigeria
by Peggy Watt

Five Years In The White Man's Grave: An Education Officer in Nigeria, 1928-33
by Geoffrey Webb

‘Dan Bana’: The Memoirs of a Nigerian Official
by Stanhope White

Science And Safari
by Jack Wilde

Oyinbo Banki: A White Chief's Nigerian Odyssey
by Elwyn Williams

A Passage from India: Reminiscences
by Richard Henry Wollocombe

A Colonial Postmaster-General’s Reminiscences
by Alan Workman

‘Strewth So Help Me God’: A Tale Told in Twilight
by Robert Wright

Nigerian Field Society
Nigerian Field Magazine

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