Sharp, Dr John Alfred
1856-1932; e.m. 1881

WM minister, born at Shaftesbury, Dorset on 25 July 1856, he was apprenticed to a carpenter. He was converted under Alexander M'Aulay, who also kindled his interest in Methodist history and literature. He was trained at Didsbury and Handsworth Colleges. In Northampton (1888-91) his encounter with Charles Bradlaugh kindled an interest in social issues and in Birmingham (1894-97) he took a prominent part in educational affairs. In 1906 he became Connexional Temperance Secretary. As Book Steward from 1911 to 1932 he strengthened the Book Room's links with the book trade and with overseas Churches. He saw through the press the final volumes of Nehemiah Curnock's edition of John Wesley's Journal, John Telford's edition of Wesley's Letters, E.H. Sugden's edition of the 'Standard Sermons' and Findlay and Holdsworth's history of the WMMS. He himself wrote books on Abraham Lincoln and David Livingstone and produced a catalogue of the library and Wesleyana at the Book Room. He was elected President of the Conference in 1921 and in 1930 was President of the FCFC. At the age of 55 he became a Freemason and was Assistant Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge. His native town made him a Freeman in 1921, the first to be so honoured. He died at New Barnet on 4 March 1932.

  • Methodist Recorder, 10 March 1932
  • W.H. Armstrong, John Alfred Sharp, a memoir [1932]
  • F.H. Cumbers, The Book Room (1956) pp.99-100