Oct 192020

Lauriston Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 9HH

Lauriston Gardens

Herbert Christian Bankole-Bright, founder member of the National Congress of British West Africa, lived at Lauriston Gardens while he studied medicine in Edinburgh. Bankole-Bright was born in Okrika (now part of Nigeria) in 1883. He was from a “Krio” (“creole”) family; his grandfather had escaped from a recaptured slave ship in 1823, landed in Sierra Leone, and was then baptized and educated by the Church Missionary Society. His parents, Jacob Galba Bright and Letitia Bright, belonged to Freetown’s African social elite. In 1905, Bankole-Bright enrolled at the Edinburgh Royal College of Surgeons. At the time, the College was autonomous from the University of Edinburgh, but students took some courses at the University. During his five years Bankole-Bright practiced at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. He took an active interest in politics as a student, writing letters to Keir Hardie, the founder of the Labour Party in Britain, and engaging in debates organized by the Afro-West Indian Association. He was academically successful, achieving marks between 60 and 75 in all of his final examinations. In 1927, 17 years after he had returned to Sierra Leone, Bankole-Bright was named Honorary President of the Edinburgh African Association.

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