This collection reflects Fromings work in Nyasaland (Malawi) for the Government Marketing Board, and his film follows the production of dark fired tobacco. There is also his autobiography documenting his life, which covers his work in Africa as a lay missionary before taking the government role.
See also oral history interview with Douglas Fromings at OH 0281.
Douglas Fromings was born in 1910 to a devout middle class family who lived in Peckham. After leaving school in 1926 he worked for his father's import business in London, until it failed during the Depression.
In 1938 he became a Lay Missionary with the Universities' Mission to Central Africa and left Britain for Nyasaland (Malawi).
When war was declared in 1940, Fromings volunteered for active service and was sent to Addis Ababa, and later to Kenya. He was discharged in 1943 and returned to the Mission until 1946, when he returned to Britain following his father's death. He had, however, been offered a new role in Nyasaland (Malawi) with the Government Marketing Board, and returned in 1946, having become engaged to Ruth, a previous girlfriend, whilst on leave. Ruth joined him in 1948.
Fromings and his wife spent the next 21 years in Nyasaland, and the donated materials show information about life as a colonial administrator. The film is a fascinating document, following every stage of the production of dark fired tobacco, from the issue of seed to the despatch of baled leaf to the Limbe Auction floors. At that time, he was Field Supervisor for the Government Marketing Board, overseeing the purchase by the Board of the local tobacco crop in the Lilongwe District.
His memoir is a comprehensive account of those years, and is complemented by an entertaining and informative oral history interview. The importance of the Anglican Church in the life he and his wife lived in Africa is evident at all times, and he offers interesting insights into the politics of the various Missions.
They returned to Britain in 1969 and he continued to work, this time with SPCK (The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge) until 1982. Ruth found adjustment to life in Britain more difficult; she died in 1985. The collection was donated to BECC in 1994.
Douglas Fromings died in December 2002.
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