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Rev. Robert Balgarnie

IN PRAISE OF REV ROBERT BALGARNIE: 1st January marks the anniversary of the 1826 birth of Robert Balgarnie. Without Balgarnie we’d know far less about Sir Titus Salt than we do. Balgarnie was a generation younger than Salt – he became a rather charismatic Congregational minister in Scarborough, & a close friend of Salt for approx the last 20 years of the latter’s life. There was clearly a bond of mutual admiration between the two men. Following Sir Titus’ death in Dec 1876, Balgarnie was appointed the official biographer for the ‘Great Paternalist’ & managed to get the full & authoritative biography published in 1877. It is this book more than any other that tells the life story of Salt the man.

Balgarnie was born at Whitehaugh, Peebles, Scotland. The church that was built through his endeavours in Scarborough still proudly stands – now as St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Scarborough & well worth a visit.

Balgarnie spent his final years in London & lies buried in Abney Park Cemetery, along with a great many other Nonconformist ministers.

We owe a great debt to Rev Robert Balgarnie for documenting Sir Titus’ life so well.


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