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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): ACC/1801
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1790-1939
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.46 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Whitefields Chapel | Tottenham Court Road


Administrative/Biographical history:

George Whitefield (1714-1770), the famous evangelical preacher, obtained a lease of the site for his Chapel in Tottenham Court Road in 1756. Whitefield had been driven to seek a place where he would be free from the opposition encountered from the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields at the Long Acre Chapel where he had been a minister. The Chapel, built and probably designed by Matthew Pearce, was opened for public worship in 1756 and was enlarged in the winter of 1759 to 1760. Whitefield died in Boston, America in 1770 and his memorial sermon was preached in the Chapel by John Wesley.

When the original lease expired in 1827, the freehold was purchased by Trustees, who reconditioned the Chapel which was reopened for services in October 1831. In 1853 the burial ground which had been in use since 1756 with an interval of eight years, 1823-1831, was closed. There was a dispute when in 1856 the Reverend J.W. Richardson endeavoured to use part of it for building purposes, and owners of the graves applied for an injunction against the disturbance of the ground. However, in 1895 it was laid out and opened as a public garden.

In 1856 the Chapel was repaired, only to be almost wholly destroyed by fire in February 1857. The property was then bought up by the London Congregational Building Society who erected a new building designed by John Tarring. However, in 1889 the foundations began to give way, probably because of the numerous burials within the building which disturbed the filling to the pond underneath.

The Chapel was closed and services were carried out in a temporary iron structure until the new building was opened in November 1899. On 25 March 1945 the Chapel was totally destroyed by bombing and was subsequently replaced by a new building which still remains on the site.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Whitefields Chapel, Tottenham Court Road, 1790-1939, including registers of burials, service sheets, index of speakers, financial accounts, Council and Finance Committee agenda and minutes, magazines, notices and calendars of activities, correspondence relating to financial, management and organisational arrangements and inventories.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In three sections: Registers; Administration and Finance; Correspondence and General Papers

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received in 1982 (Acc/1801).

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also LMA/4472 and LMA/4143.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
January to March 2009

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