Olver, George William
1829-1905; e.m. 1851

WM minister, born on 30 March 1829 at Hungerford, the son of Henry Vyvyan Olver (1790-1872; e.m. 1812). He was educated at Kingswood School and taught at Queen's College, Taunton before training at Didsbury College, where he was also Assistant Tutor 1851-53. He served in turn as Secretary of the Education Committee (1866-71), as Principal of Southlands College (1871-81) and as a Secretary of theWMMS (1881-1900). He was editor of the Methodist Recorder between the death of Morley Punshon in 1881 and the appointment of Dr. W.T. Davison in 1883. In his Fernley Lecture of 1878, Life and Death: the saction of the Law of Love, he rejected traditional views of eternal punishment in Hell. He died at Brockley, London, on 24 February 1905.

His son George W. Olver (1863-1942; e.m.1887), born at Scarborough, was the third generation in the WM ministry. From 1887 to 1915 he served in the Bengal District, India and after returning to home circuits was Chairman of the York and Whitby District and involved in the work of the Bible Society. He died on 30 May 1942.


Gilbert Thomas came to know G.W. Olver as a prison chaplain while imprisoned in Wormwood Scrubbs as a conscientious objector in World War I.

'During my pre-hospital weeks I had attended his services, and had gained the impression of an unusual devout and sincere man, saved from conventional pietism by an alert, enquiring and independent mind, eagerly responsive to ideas and to every kind of human interest. His preaching at once soothed and stimulated, and I admired the thoroughness and tact with which he seized the oppoortunities of helpfulness open to him… Olver's visits laid the foundation of an abiding friendship, rewarding me through a quarter-century with a sustained correspondence, at once thoughtful and lively…'

Gilbert Thomas, Autobiography (1946) pp.160-61

  • Methodist Recorder,2 March 1905, 4 June 1942