The Centre is named after local historian, Alfred Neobard Palmer. Born in Norfolk in 1847. Palmer, a trained chemist, moved to Wrexham in 1880 and worked at the Zoedone Mineral Water works until 1884. He then worked as Chief Chemist at the Brymbo Steelworks until 1886 when he suffered a breakdown. After working as an analytical chemist, he devoted his retirement to local historical research. He published ten books in all, most notably a series of books on the History of Wrexham.
His notebooks containing his research on the area's history are available on microfiche. He died in 1915 in Wrexham and is buried in the Ruabon Road Cemetery. There is a plaque to him in the Palmer Centre. It was originally unveiled by Lord Howard de Walden at the old Wrexham Public Library on Queen's Square on 29th November 1922.