Waterworth, William Garfield

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

  • Letters from WGW in Ireland, dated 1907-09, to his family.
  • Letters from WGW, dated 1910-1912, to his family, and to the Cornwall District Guilds who were sponsoring him, mainly written from Tarkwa mission station in Ghana.
  • Letters, dated 1913-32, from WGW to his family mainly written from Kumasi, Ghana.
  • File of correspondence, dated 1957 to 1960, concerning a proposal for a book about WGW and the mass movement in Ashanti.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Garfield Waterworth (WGW) was born in Yorkshire, England in September 1881. After serving as a Lay Evangelist in Northern Ireland he was accepted as a candidate for the Irish Methodist Ministry in 1909. Following the death of a missionary friend in the Gold Coast [Ghana] in 1910 he applied to the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society to be sent out as a missionary to West Africa. Probably the most significant event during his period of service was the mass conversion of Ashanti people to Christianity in response to the preaching of the prophet Sam[p]son Opong during the years 1919 to 1921.Waterworth was largely responsible for the building of Wesley Church and Wesley College at Kumasi. In 1932 he retired due to ill-health but later returned to West Africa as Chairman of the West Nigeria District where he served until 1947. He died in England in 1956. For further information about the Ashanti movement see: Hans W. Debrunner, The story of Sampson Opong, Accra, 1965.

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted but only to be viewed on microfiche.

Acquisition Information

Deposited on permanent loan with the records of the Methodist Missionary Society in 1978.

Other Finding Aids

A Handlist to the Biographical Series of the MMS Archive is available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room in SOAS Library.

Archivist's Note

This description compiled by Rosemary Seton, Archivist, SOAS

Conditions Governing Use

No publication without prior permission in writing. Apply to SOAS Archives in first instance

Custodial History

Waterworth's letters were deposited with the Methodist Missionary Society by Waterworth's widow, Mrs Anne Waterworth.

Related Material

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the Methodist Missionary Society (Ref: WMMS/MMS), including letters and reports from individual missionaries.