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African Women and the
British Health Service




1916– ?

Princess Omo Oba Adenrele Ademola, born 2nd January 1916, was the daughter of the Alake of Abeokuta, a King in the southern region of Nigeria, and served as a midwife in numerous London hospitals during and after the Second World War and was the first African nurse to the feature of a Colonial Film Unit film, ‘Nurse Ademola’.

She arrived in Britain on 29th June 1935, aged 20. After schooling in Somerset, she was listed amongst the nursing staff on St Saviour’s Ward in Guys Hospital in 1939. By June 1941, Ademola was a registered nurse at Guy’s Hospital, having passed her examinations. During World War II, she trained as a midwife at Queen Charlotte’s Maternity Hospital in London and worked at New End Hospital in Hampstead. Her last documented movements were in 1948 when she returned to Britain from Lagos, Nigeria, with a man believed to be her husband, Timothy Odutola, a 46-year-old trader.

While in Britain, Ademola, made official appearances as a Princess. She attended the coronation of King George VI on 12th May 1937 with the Alake and her brother Prince Ademola III. She attended royal events during this season, including royal garden parties at Buckingham Palace, dinners with the Mayor of London and made a visit to Carreras cigarette factory in June 1937. Also, in 1942, she spoke publically to West Africa on the BBC broadcast ‘Calling all Nations’.

Her care as a nurse in London hospitals alongside her significance as a colonial ‘role model’ was emphasised in the Colonial Film Unit’s 1944/5 film ‘Nurse Ademola’ which was broadcasted across West Africa. But since its distribution, the film has been lost. YHP are keen to find a copy of this film and discover more about Nurse Ademola’s experiences in Britain.


  • First Arrival, ‘A Ademola’ (1935) ‘Incoming Passengers’ 25th June 1935 UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960; ‘African Princess as Nurse’ in ‘British Journal For Nursing’ January 1938, [accessed 22nd April 2020] 303 Rw Ow Ademola Adenrela’ St Saviours Ward, North Polling District B, London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965 p.31.

  • '110366 Ademola, Adenrele’ June 27th 1941, London’ Register of Nurses for 1946 p22; Her registration to Guy’s Hospital also mentioned in ‘News in Nursing’ ‘The American Journal of Nursing’ vol 41 iss 12, December 1941;  ‘Ademola, Adenrele’ District Register,

  • ‘Ademola, Adenrele’ 109811, 16th December 1942, ‘Roll of Practicing Midwives 1943-44’ p.5

  • Adenrele Odutola nee Ademola” 27th September 1948, Incoming Passenger List UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960; Polling District U – Queen’s Gate Ward (1949), London Electoral Register 1832-1965 p.48

  • Ademola’s landing in Britain noted ‘Miss A Ademola’ (1937) ‘Incoming Passengers, Liverpool’ UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960. Arrival with her father for the coronation noted in "Picture Gallery." Daily Mail, 5 May 1937, p. 11. Daily Mail Historical Archive, 1896-2004, [Accessed 12 Jan. 2020]; ‘The Visit of the Alake of Abeokuta 1937-1939’ The National Archives, CO 583/214/7

  • Evidence of their royal appointments across London during the coronation; “Court Circular." Times, 26 June 1937, p. 17. The Times Digital Archive, [Accessed 3 Feb. 2020]; ‘The Visit of the Alake of Abeokuta 1937-1939’ The National Archives, CO 583/214/7; 'The Omoba Adenrele Ademola, daughter of the Alake of Abeokuta, Nigeria, calls West Africa', 1942 in Thomas Owen Beachcroft ‘Calling All Nations’ [GB: British Broadcasting Corporation] 1942 p36,

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