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In 1877 Sir George Goldie travelled to the Niger delta in Nigeria. It was here that he amalgamated various British firms to form the United Africa Company in 1879; the Company was renamed the National African Company in 1882. In 1886 the Company received a charter of incorporation as the Royal Niger Company Chartered & Limited (RNC), this authorised the Company to administer the Niger delta and the country on the banks of the Niger and Benue rivers.
The RNC imposed prohibitive dues on the people of Brass who wanted to trade at their traditional markets in the RNC's territory. There was such hostility that in 1895 the RNC's establishment at Akassa was attacked. Continuing complaints from the people of Brass, together with the RNC's commercial and territorial disputes with France, led to the transference of the RNC's charter to the British government in December 1899. Goldie left the RNC and Aldred Frederick Beresford Lumley became Chairman of the Board of Directors (he had joined the Council of the RNC in 1891).
In October 1919 Lever Brothers Limited approached the RNC with a view to acquiring raw materials. Further negotiations between the two companies resulted in the purchase of the RNC by Lever Brothers. In January 1921, as a result of this take-over, the majority of the Board of the RNC retired and Lumley, having declined the invitation to sit as joint Governor of the RNC, became Chairman of the Preference Shareholders.
In 1929 the RNC was amalgamated with the African and Eastern Corporation to form the United Africa Company.
Correspondence, reports, minutes, statements of accounts, newspaper clippings and a small number of photographs accumulated by Aldred Frederick George Beresford Lumley during nearly 40 years of close association with the Royal Niger Company. Includes correspondence with Goldie.
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The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.
Listed as no. 1170 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968).
Lumley | Aldred Frederick George Beresford | 1857-1945 | 10th Earl of Scarbrough
Goldie | George Dashwood | 1846-1925 | Knight Founder of Nigeria
Royal Niger Company Chartered & Limited
Merchants | Nigeria
Niger River Delta (Nigeria)