Ludvig Verner Helms

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Ludvig Verner Helms (1825 – 1918) was a trader and merchant associated with the Far East, especially the Borneo Company in Sarawak.

Born in Varde, Denmark, he left for Bali in 1846, sailing via the Cape and Singapore. He had letters of introduction to Mads Lange and worked for him until 1849. He went briefly to China, then to California in 1850, but ended up taking up an offer from some Singapore merchants to trade on their behalf in Sarawak, after a mission to Siam and Cambodia.

In 1851 he took up residence in Sarawak and commenced trading mainly in antimony. In 1856, the Borneo Company was formed and Helms was engaged as its manager in Sarawak. During the Chinese Insurrection against Rajah Brooke in 1857, the insurgents proposed making Helms Rajah, but he was instrumental in their defeat. In 1858, he left for the UK, via Bali, to recover his health and negotiate better terms with the Borneo Company's directors in the UK. In London, in 1859, he married, and engaged to return to Sarawak for the Borneo Company in 1860. He and a growing family stayed until 1872, when they returned to Europe via China, Japan, and California. A lawsuit terminated his relationship with the Borneo Company.[1]

In 1878, he had a trip to Lapland to investigate mines from the White Sea.[2]

By 1881, the family was settled in London,[3] where he stayed until he died in Hampstead in 1918.[4]


  1. ^ Longhurst, Henry (1956),The Borneo Story
  2. ^ Helms, L.V. (1882), Pioneering in the Far East and Journeys to California in 1849 and to the White Sea in 1878
  3. ^ English census, 1881
  4. ^ Births Marriages And Deaths, Sept, 1918