Balmer, William Turnbull

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Letters and papers, dated ca. 1923-1951, 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 in 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. This work he continued right up to his death in 1928.

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 typescript list of the Biographical Series is available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room, SOAS Library.

Alternative Form Available

The MMS archive to 1945 is available on microfiche from IDC.

Archivist's Note

This description compiled by Rosemary Seton, Archivist, SOAS with reference to The Minutes of Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church for 1928.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Related Material

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (Ref: WMMS/MMS), including letters from individual missionaries. Photographs taken by WT Balmer in West Africa are kept in the Archives's photographic section. (Ref WMMS/MMS West Africa Photographs)