Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William J. Battley (c1880-1947)

Community activist.

Known as “the pioneer advocate of sex education in the west”, he came to Manitoba from Ipswich, England in 1893 and, seven years later, settled in Winnipeg. A forceful speaker who won medals in oratory, he began lecturing on social reform. In 1911, he accepted a position with the provincial civil service and, three years later, was appointed Morality Inspector. He resigned this position in 1916 to devote his time to the Social Hygiene Association of Manitoba, Saskatchewa and Alberta, which he had founded and served as General Secretary. He helped to establish clinics for venereal diseases, gave lectures and staged exhibits. In 1922, he published the book White and Black dealing with sex and moral issues. He died at his Winnipeg home on 9 February 1947 and was buried in Brookside Cemetery.


“W. J. Battley, social hygiene leader, is dead”, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 February 1947. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9]

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 November 2010

Memorable Manitobans

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