Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/ACC1007
TitleAccession 1007: Papers relating to Sybil K. Batley, MBE
Extent2 boxes
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DescriptionPapers and photographs relating to Dr Sybil K[athleen] Batley (1897-1978), a CMS medical missionary whose work in Nigeria not only earned her an MBE but also the nickname 'Omalunkpa' ('one who knows the needs of others'). Predominantly concerning her work as Superintendent of Iyi Enu Hospital, Onitsha (CMS Niger Mission) and arising from the period when she was Regional Medical Adviser for West Africa, but also including papers and notes relating to Nigeria accumulated after the end of her missionary career, and correspondence and notes compiled by family members after her death. Items of particular note are Dr Batley's brief records of time spent travelling, including photographs taken whilst travelling back to the UK on board a German passenger ship in 1934 with captions describing 'Black Shirts' mingling with passengers fearful for their future.

A few of the items are written in French and others in the vernacular for a Nigerian audience.
NotesImages shown: staff photo including Dr Batley at Iyi Enu Hospital 1935, 1st row seated, 3rd from right (CMS/ACC1007 Z2); photograph of Dr Batley in 1957 whilst visiting for the Golden Jubilee celebrations at Iyi Enu Hospital (CMS/ACC1007 F3/5).
Access ConditionsThe majority of this collection is open to all registered researchers.The collection though also contains a small amount of personal information relating to living individuals. Access and use of this information is covered by our 'Access to Archives and Manuscripts' declaration. Items relating to living individuals which are of a sensitive nature have been closed in order to comply with Data Protection regulations. In addition, the 50 year closure period used for CMS Annual Letters has been applied to a few items of correspondence (this is indicated on the records). Closure periods have been indicated at file/item level entry description.
Access StatusPartially closed
Creator NameBatley, Sybil Kathleen, 1897-1978, doctor and missionary
Administrative HistoryDr Sybil Kathleen Batley, MBE, MRCS, LRCP, was born in Ipswich 16 June 1897. During the First World War she worked as a laboratory assistant at Lister 1916-1917, Belmont POW Hospital, Belmont, Sutton 1917-1918 and the New Zealand General Hospital, Brockenhurst, Hampshire 1918. Having been accepted as a CMS missionary in 1919, she entered medical training at the London School of Medicine October 1919 and qualified from the Royal Free Hospital June 1925 (WRCS LRCP). She worked briefly as a locum in General Practice before being appointed Casualty Officer of Mildmay Hospital September 1925-February 1926. She attended Kennaway Hall (one of the CMS women's training institutions) before sailing for West Africa and the CMS Niger Mission 24 March 1926.

On arrival at Onitsha, Nigeria, Dr Batley took the place of Mary Elms as Superintendent of Iyi Enu Hospital in 1926 where she continued in the post of superintendent until 1948. She embarked on further studies during this period, passing language exams in summer 1927 and September 1928 and taking a course in tropical medicine at Liverpool when she was invalided home because of persistent ear problems July/August 1929-March 1930. From 1948/1949-1950/1951, she served as CMS Regional Medical Adviser for West Africa during which time she was based at the Rural Development Centre, Anwai, Asaba, Nigeria except for a period in 1950 when she was temporarily stationed at the Princess Christian Hospital, Sierra Leone.

She resigned from CMS in 1951 and went on to work with Berkshire County Council Children's Department 1952-1960. However, she retained a strong association with CMS after her return to the UK: she served on the Medical Committee 1954-1962 and was made Honorary Governor for Life in 1963. In 1948, she was awarded an MBE for her work in Nigeria. She died in Manchester 10 July 1978.

Sources: the records; CMS Annual Reports and Medical Committee minutes; notes supplied by the donor; 'London Gazette' available online at (accessed 14 February 2014); 'Sybil K Batley, MBE, MRCS, LRCP', The British Medical Journal , Vol 2, No. 6137 (Aug. 26, 1978), p. 644 published by: BMJ available online at (accessed 14 February 2014)
Custodial HistoryOn the death of Dr Batley, the records passed to Margaret MacDonald, her niece. Margaret MacDonald is understood to have sorted Dr Batley's writing and she made a handwritten copy of some of her papers. On Margaret's death, Dr Batley's records and her niece's notes passed on to Neil MacDonald, the nephew of Dr Batley, Margaret's brother and executor and husband of the donor.

Information supplied by the donor, January 2014.
AcquisitionPresented 30 January 2014.
Archival NoteFonds level catalogue entry prepared by Ivana Frlan, October 2014; full catalogue prepared by Jennifer Childs, November 2014. Prepared in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.


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