Papers of the Nilgiri Prayer Fellowship

Scope and Content

This collection was compiled largely by Dr Ernest Lucas, one of the long standing members of the Nilgiri Prayer Fellowship. The collection consists of contextual material, minutes, administrative documents and newsletters of the Nilgiri Prayer Fellowship. The contextual material includes a brief history of the organisation; the constitution of the foundation; several written experience reports of those missionaries who travelled to India; photographs of the churches constructed by the mission and of the people who frequented them; and a eulogy for Ben Putnam, long standing NPF secretary and member. The administrative documents include official documents for the establishment of the charity, information regarding the members of the fellowship and various photographs of the progress of the mission in India. Also included is all issues of the fellowship newsletter booklet from between 1988 and 2012. The booklets typically contain information on the progress of the mission and photographs to demonstrate it. The collection of minutes is almost complete for between 1972 and 2012. The archive would be of use to those studying Christian mission, missionary activity abroad, the significance of missionary activity within the Brethren tradition, Christian missionaries in non-Christian countries, and biographical material relating in general to those concerned.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Nilgiri Prayer Fellowship (NPF) was founded by Orissa Taylor in 1930 as the Nilgiri Medical Mission. The medical mission provided a hospital in the Nilgiris area in southern India, in addition to "spreading the word of God" through conversion of natives. In 1958 the hospital was closed following the construction of various other hospitals in the area. Dr William Beer chose to continue the church which had been part of the hospital, independently as the NPF. The main functions and purpose of the Fellowship were the conversion of non-believers and the use of funds to build churches and to aid Nilgiri Christians. Members of the Fellowship would frequently visit the area in order to oversee the mission and to preach their beliefs. The meetings of the organisation were held largely within Westminster Chapel and Fitzroy Square in London. The administration of the fellowship consisted of a council with a chairman, a secretary and a treasurer. Up until the year 2000, the chairman of the fellowship was John Bugden, when he resigned to be succeeded by Geoffrey Lee; Ben Putnam remained the secretary of the fellowship until his death in 2006, after which the secretary became Joan Beer; Ron Jones was the treasurer of the fellowship. In 2012, due to an aging and diminishing population, the Nilgiri Prayer Foundation disbanded, leaving all remaining funds to the Westmark Trust, an organisation with similar aims to those of the NPF.


The collection has been organised into the following series:

  • NPF/1 - Contextual material
  • NPF/2 - Administrative documents
  • NPF/3 - Newsletters bundle
  • NPF/4 - Agendas and minutes
  • NPF/5 - Accounts

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Rev. Dr. Ernest C. Lucas

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The records were inheritied by Rev. Dr. Ernest C. Lucas, who was involved as a member of the Council of the Nilgiri Prayer Fellowship. He passed on the material to the Universtiy of Manchester Library in June 2014.


None expected.

Related Material

The University of Manchester Library also holds the papers of Echoes of Service, the Christian Brethren missionary service organisation ( GB 133 EOS).


Tim Grass, Gathering to his name (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2006)

Geographical Names