Alfred Francis Adderley CBE (16 November 1891–16 June 1953)

(Credit: Bahamas Chronicle)


Place of birth: Nassau, the Bahamas

Year of matriculation at St Catharine’s (Catz): 1912

Subject: Law

Catz connection:

  • He is the College's earliest Black student on record.
  • He graduated with a BA and LLB with honours.
  • His son, The Hon Paul Adderley (1947, Law), and granddaughter, Paula Adderley (1993, Law), also graduated from St Catharine’s.
  • The Rt Rev'd Michael Eldon (1949, Theology & Religious Studies) was mentored by Alfred before he too embarked on undergraduate studies at St Catharine’s.
  • In the St Catharine’s College Society Magazine from 1953, his obituary is written by another black alumnus, Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke (1914, Natural Sciences).
  • The Adderley Prize was established by the College following a bequest from Alfred and his son, Paul. It is still given to this day to recognise law students for outstanding performance in a University Tripos exam.

Life before Catz:

He attended Boys’ Central School and Nassau Grammar School until 1908 when he was admitted to Denstone College in Staffordshire, England. He worked in New York City for a year to help finance his education. His great-grandfather was Alladay Adderley, who had been captured and enslaved as a young man, but then went on to become one of the largest landowners in the Bahamas.

Life after Catz:

From 1915 to 1919, he worked in the War Factory Service as Assistant Pay Master at White City, London. A member of the Middle Temple, he was called to the Bar in 1919. He trained and mentored in his chambers two Governor Generals.

After practicing law in the Bahamas, he was first elected to the House of Assembly in 1923. He was appointed to a seat on the Legislative Council in 1938 and to the Executive Council in 1946. At the time of his death he was a senior member of that body.

He became widely regarded as the Bahamas’ most outstanding trial lawyer, and one of the most able advocates in the Caribbean. Throughout his public career, he was a strong advocate of social legislation, serving for ten years on the Health Board and for six years on the Board of Education.

He was a devout Anglican who served as Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas, a Vestry Member of St Mary’s Church and a member of the Board of Governors of St John’s College in Nassau.

As a sportsman, he was the Founder and President of the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association and the St Alban’s Athletic Club. Additionally, he was the Vice President of the Bahamas Olympic Association.

In 1951, he was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the King’s Birthday Honours and presided as Acting Chief Justice at the October Sessions of the Supreme Court. Shortly before his death, he travelled to London to represent the Bahamas at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Pictured: AF Adderley's tutorial card


Pictured: AF Adderley in the 1912 entrance register


St Catharine’s College Society. St Catharine’s College Society Magazine. 1953. Available online

‘Arsonists try to kill that old African Alladay Adderley, Nassau 1884.’ Bahaminanology. Available online:

‘Bahamian educators: Alfred Francis Adderley.’ Bahamas National Archives. Available online:

Ministry of Education. ‘A.F. Adderley Junior High School Celebrates Patron’s Day.’ The Bahamas Weekly. Available online:

The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Volume XI: The Caribbean Diaspora, 1910–1920. Duke University Press. Available online:'s&f=false

Contact details

Matilda Watson

01223 338343