Rev William Turnbull Balmer

Scope and Content

Letters and papers of, to and about WT Balmer put together for a proposed biography.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Turnbull Balmer was born at Philadelphia, a mining village near Durham on 16th October 1866. He was educated locally, was trained as a teacher at Westminster College, Oxford and became Headmaster of the Wesleyan School at Tenby in South Wales. In 1899 he became an ordained minister of the Wesleyan Church and in 1901 went out to West Africa as an educational missionary. He taught at Richmond College in Freetown, at the Mfantsipim High School, Cape Coast, Ghana and at Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone. He also carried out evangelical work. In 1921 he was forced to resign from overseas service due to ill-health but, on his return to Britain, was appointed to the post of Editor and Secretary of The Atlantis Press, which sought to provide Christian works in a number of West Africa languages. He also made valuable contributions to the study of less well-known West African languages, including providing a grammar and primer for Fante-Akan language. This work he continued right up to his death on 15th May 1928 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Further Reading:

Balmer, W T, A history of the Akan peoples of the Gold Coast (c1925);

Balmer, W T, A catechism of Christian experience (c1953).

Access Information

Only to be viewed on microfiche.


Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Copyright probably held by Methodist Missionary Society.

Related Material

Also within the records of the (Wesleyan) Methodist Missionary Society is the official correspondence for William Turnbull Balmer for Sierra Leone (MMS/West Africa/Correspondence/Sierra Leone/FBN 6-7) and the Gold Coast distict (MMS/West Africa/Correspondence/Gold Coast/FBN 14). Furthermore, the synod minutes will detail his work, and that of his colleagues, in the Sierra Leone (MMS/West Africa/Synod Minutes/Sierra Leone/FBN 8) and Gold Coast (MMS/West Africa/Synod Minutes/Gold Coast/FBN 4) districts.

Photographs taken by WT Balmer whilst in West Africa are also available (MMS/West Africa/Photographs/Boxes 1194 & 1195a).