Frank Longley Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection reflects the long career of the Longleys in Nigeria and covers: personal and circular correspondence from Nigeria; notebooks and diaries; texts of addresses and talks; letters sent to the Longleys from Nigerian children whom they supported; material collected by Frank Longley for his memoir; photographs and pictures; and reels of 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm cine-film.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frank Hollis Longley, Methodist Missionary Society missionary in western and northern Nigeria, was born in Arlesey, Bedfordshire. The family moved to Royston where his father was a butcher and, after leaving school in 1919, Longley worked in the family shop. From an early age he had wanted to be a missionary and he secured a place to train for the ministry at Richmond College and later went to Headingly, Leeds.

Longley first went to Nigeria in 1931 for two short spells then, in 1935, married Jessie Nellie Bannister, a trained teacher from Royston. A few weeks after their wedding the Longleys left for Nigeria where they were based in Oyo, western Nigeria. Apart from 2 years in Ibadan they spent the next 22 years at Oyo. Conditions were difficult and they were very much pioneers, but the Longleys worked hard to gain the respect of and work with the people. Frank Longley became proficient in Yoruba and, as well as evangelising, did his best to help the local communities. Jessie Longley also took an active part in the work, helping out in the hostels, schools and dispensaries that they opened in the area. The Longleys had no children of their own but cared for and supported several local children with whom they kept in touch and whose careers they followed even after they had left Nigeria.

In 1957 Frank Longley was appointed superintendent of the Igboora and Badagry circuits and moved, with Jessie, to Igboora. In 1960 he was awarded an MBE, but by this time Jessie's health was causing some concern and the couple returned to England in 1963. Longley worked on the circuit in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk but in 1965 they were asked to return to Nigeria. They were based at Oturkpo, Northern Nigeria then from 1967 at Bussa, the site of the Niger River Dam and had to contend with many difficulties caused by the Civil War. In 1969 they finally returned to England and Longley was appointed minister at Ollerton, Mansfield. Frank retired from active work in 1972 and they returned to Royston, to the house where Jessie had been born. The Longleys returned to Nigeria for a visit in 1975. Jessie died on 7 September 1985.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers. It is essential to arrange an appointment in advance to view the archive in order that someone can be available to help. Please contact us by email at divinity-CSWC@ed.ac.uk. Telephone the Centre on: 0131 650 8900. Postal address: Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue for this collection is available to researchers at the Centre.

Archivist's Note

Description originally written and researched by Caroline Brown in July 2001. This was added to Archives Hub in August 2012 by Louise Williams.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction of materials (for example by digital camera) is free for private research and educational use, although we ask researchers to sign an agreement. Please contact us for enquiries on using the material in a commercial setting, for which there will be a fee. Contact us by email at divinity-CSWC@ed.ac.uk. Telephone the Centre on: 0131 650 8900. Postal address: Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX.

Accruals

No further additions to this collection are expected.

Geographical Names