Dr Nathaniel Thomas King

1847 – 1884

Born in Hastings, Sierra Leone, Nathaniel Thomas King was one of the earliest western‐trained West African medics to practise in Nigeria. He studied at Aberdeen for a short time in 1874, while he was a student in Edinburgh. King’s father was Rev. Thomas King, a catechist of the Church Missionary Society who assisted Ajayi Crowther in translating the Bible to Yoruba. In 1850, the young King’s father moved to the Yoruba mission in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and the family went along with him. In 1861, he was recommended as one of the four students to be trained at a Church Mission Society pre-medical training program under Dr A A Harrison, a Cambridge-trained doctor. Sadly, Harrison passed away in 1865 and Venn recommended King to Fourah Bay College to continue his studies.

While in Freetown, he also worked in the colonial hospital. King later went to King’s College, London, with sponsorship from his uncle, Henry Robbin, and CMS. King obtained his MRCS from King’s College and his medical degree from University of Edinburgh in 1876, which is when he studied for a year in Aberdeen. He returned to Nigeria and was involved in developing modern medical practice in the country.

In Nigeria, he promoted environmental sanitation, acted as an examiner for CMS Grammar School, Lagos, and Wesley College; he was also a trust member of the Rebecca Hussey fund for Africans. Sadly, his premature death meant that he did not go as far as his talents could have taken him.

Biography prepared from the nomination made to the University of Aberdeen 525 Alumni project.