University of Birmingham Staff Papers: Papers of Robert Elwyn Bradbury

Scope and Content

The files relate mainly to language, culture and folk-lore in the Benin area of Southern Nigeria.

First trip to Benin: Fieldnotes on Benin City and surroundings, 1951-1952; fieldnotes mainly on the Ekho area, 1951-1952.

Second trip: Esako miscellaneous notes from records, 1931-1949; fieldnotes mainly on the Ehor area, 1952; fieldnotes from Benin, 1953-1954; fieldnotes mainly on the Ovia river cult, 1953-1954

Third trip: Benin Scheme fieldnotes, 1957-1961;

Other papers include notes on a 35mm film series; notes on photos and slides; Benin Division records, 1900-1952; miscellaneous notes and press cuttings relating to Benin, 1885-1957; notes from the Benin Voice publication, 1949-1958; Esako miscellaneous notes from records, 1918-1939; other miscellaneous notes from records 1917-1937; notes on Isoko; notes on Itsekiri, 1914-1930; Ivbiosak on miscellaneous notes; North West Edo intelligence reports, 1918-1941; work of associates on the Benin scheme.

Administrative / Biographical History

Administrative/Biographical History

Dr Robert Elwyn Bradbury of the Birmingham University Centre for West African Studies made three field tours in Benin over a 10 year period. The first was in 1951-2 when he spent 18 months as a Horniman Student of the Royal Anthropological Institute. The notes he made formed the basis of his doctoral thesis (London 1956). The second trip was in 1952-4 as a Research Fellow of the International African Institute, and completed the basis for his contribution to the Ethnographic Survey of Africa, The Benin Kingdom , 1957. The third tour was from 1956-1961 (interrupted by periods at Ibadan) during which he worked for Ibadan University, at first on the Benin Historical research scheme.

Reference: Catalogue for GB 150 US3.

For further reading about the University of Birmingham see: Eric Ives, Diane Drummond, Leonard Schwarz The First Civic University: Birmingham 1880-1980 An Introductory History ( The University of University of Birmingham Press. 2000 ).


The files have been preserved in their original order and are arranged alphabetically within series relating to places.

Access Information

Access Conditions

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was deposited in 1971 by Bradbury's widow.

Other Finding Aids

See full catalogue for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of other former staff, officials and students.

Personal Names