Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (Caroline Simpson Collection)




A collection of 43 drawings, mostly watercolour, a few pencil and ink, with a small amount of associated manuscript material, depicting Wesleyan chapels, mission houses and schools in the West Indies - chapels in Jamaica, St Vincent, Trinidad, St Eustatius, St Maarten, Antigua and the Bahamas; Wesleyan chapels and a mission house in Demerara (Guyana); Wesleyan chapels, mission houses and mission schools in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) - Jaffna, Trincomalie, Galle, Colombo and Kornegalle; and Wesleyan chapels, mission houses and a school in India - Bangalore and Goobbe (Mysore). The drawings were acquired by the late Mrs Caroline Simpson OAM (1930-2003) and were part of a gift to the Historic Houses Trust in 2004.

Wesleyan missions to the indigenous and enslaved peoples of the British Empire began in 1786 when Thomas Coke, destined for Nova Scotia, was driven off course by a storm and landed in Antigua in the British West Indies. There he developed a successful mission of both slaves and plantation owners. Within a few years almost every colony in the West Indies had been reached. A mission to West Africa was undertaken in 1811 and a third Methodist mission was founded by Coke in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1814. Two of the drawings in this collection are finely rendered, detailed, watercolours of the exterior and interior of the Wesleyan Mission House in Colombo, Ceylon, made in 1816 in the early days of the mission to that country. Other drawings depict second-generation chapels or mission houses, built to replace buildings destroyed by hurricane or built to accommodate a growing membership.Some of the drawings are architectural, others are amateur. Several are associated with notable missionaries. As a whole the collection provides an important visual record of the achievement and ambition of the Wesleyan missions to the Caribbean and to Sri Lanka in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Item level entries can located in HHT Pictures Catalogue link provided above (search term: Wesleyan Methodist Missionary)


Colonial architecture; Missionaries; Transnationalism; Wesleyan Methodism


Coverage Spatial

India; St Maarten; St Eustatius; St Vincent; Trinidad; Jamaica; Sri Lanka; Guyana; Bahamas; Antigua

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2012-05-30 23:40