Emmanuel Olubomi Beckley

Emmanuel Olubomi Beckley was a distinguished Nigerian medical doctor of the 19th Century. Born in Apongbon Street, Olowogbowo, Lagos in September 1881 to Thomas Elliot Beckley and Jane, a Sierra Leonean returnee in the class of C.B. Moore and Ajobo Coker. After his elementary education at the neighbourhood Wilton House School pioneered by his older siblings, Emmanuel was sponsored by his parents to the University of Durham where he got a B.A. and thereafter the M.A. up to the doctorate degree. Although he lost his parents before completion of his studies, he benefited from the savings made by his mother in care of J.J. Thomas of Lagos.

In Scotland, Emmanuel joined the Freemason together with Sesi Akpo and B.J. Odunbaku, who were also medical doctors. Upon his return to Africa in 1913, he proceeded to work in the Gold Coast where he became renowned especially in Aganyin, Elmina and Saltpond. In 1915, he built a hospital in Palm House Cape Coast and in subsequent years lectured on hygiene and physiology at the S.P.G.’s Grammar School, Infantsipin School, and Assemble Hall, Cape Coast. He became indisposed after a motor cycle accident in November 1917, in Aganyin in which he suffered a broken spin. Consequently he vacated to Lagos under the care of Rev. T.O.J Ogunbiyi at the clergy’s Ebute Ero residence. Emmanuel soon resigned his position as Assistant Medical Officer in Freetown where he worked briefly in Jane’s Nursing Home at Oxford Street. He died 9 August, 1924.

Tope Apoola
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