Henry Rawlingson Carr

Carr was the first student of Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone to obtain an honours degree and the first African resident commissioner of the colony of Lagos. Carr was the son of a Sierra Leonean emigrant of Yoruba extraction. He was born on August 15, 1863, in Lagos. He attended St. Paul’s School, Breadfruit and Olowogbowo Wesleyan Elementary School in Lagos. He went to Sierra Leone for his secondary education which he received at the newly opened Wesleyan Boys’ High School, Freetown.

In 1877, Carr entered Fourah Bay College and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Physics in 1882. He left for Britain and enrolled at Lincoln’s Inn, St Mark’s College in Chelsea and the Royal College of Science in South Kensington, London.

After 12 years of academic pursuit abroad, Carr returned to Nigeria in June 1885 and was appointed senior assistant master at the Church Missionary Society, CMS, Grammar School, Lagos. He joined the civil service in 1889 as chief clerk and sub-inspector of schools for Lagos. The following year, he became the assistant colonial secretary for native affairs.

Carr returned to the department of education as a provincial inspector, then a chief inspector of schools in Southern Nigeria and commissioner (Resident) of the colony of Lagos. He retired on August 1, 1924, at the age of 61.

Throughout his career, the main interest of Carr was education. Because he believed that education was a necessity for the development of the individual and the nation, Carr advocated that it should be a prominent feature in government programmes. His published works include Key to Locks’s Trigonometry and The General Reports of Education in Lagos. In 1906, Carr received masters of Arts and bachelor of civil law degrees from Durham University and was honoured with the companion of the Imperial Service in 1920 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He died on March 6, 1945.


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