Qua Iboe Mission Records

c.150 volumes, 13 files and c.750 documents comprising the records of the Qua Iboe Mission in Nigeria and Belfast, 1887-1963. In 1887 Samuel Alexander Bill, a 23 year-old Belfast builder, responded to a call from chiefs of the Ibuna tribe in the Qua Iboe region of Southern Nigeria for a Christian teacher. He established a house and school and from these grew the Qua Iboe Mission which (in the 1940s) had 14 central and 700 outstations with 50 European workers and 650 native helpers, bible and evangelist colleges, training institutes for young people and a hospital. The papers of the mission are a rich source for students of the history of misionary work in Africa. There is detailed correspondence about the work and development of the mission from 1888 to 1942, including a large section of 725 letters, 1900-42, from the Superintendent in the field, Samuel Bill, to Mr R.L. McKeown (himself a missionary in the field 1899-1901) as General Secretary of the mission in Belfast. These letters contain details of every aspect of the work. Also of considerable interest are the diaries of Samuel Bill, 1887-1941, and his loose leaf daily journals, 1902-22, which are very detailed because of his desire to keep the Home Council informed about the progress of the work. The earliest diary, Sept.-Oct. 1897, is an original daily account of the initial voyage to Qua Iboe via Old Calabar. Other contents of the archive include: bound volumes of the Mission quarterlies, 1892-1962; Annual Reports of the Belfast Qua Iboe Missionary Association (including financial reports), 1889-1941; minute books, records of donations, financial statements, etc. of the Mountpottinger and Londonderry auxiliaries of the Central Council, 1896-1960, which were established for fundraising and spreading information. There are also a range of photographs pertaining to the mission , c.1890-1940, including one of Samuel Bill and his family taken in 1896.


The collection is a major source for research into missionary work in West Africa from the 1890s onwards. It is particularly useful because of the large volume of correspondence and diaries which have survived.

Physical characteristics

The Qua Iboe Mission Papers consist of c.850 items, 1887-1963, comprising a range of documents, volumes, plans, photographs, publications and newspaper cuttings occupying 13 PRONI boxes. There is also a microfilm copy of the records (MIC/434).

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI reference D/3301 for catalogue of the papers. The catalogue is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.


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Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 09 February 2018