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LONDON METHODIST MISSION (WEST) CIRCUIT/ GREAT QUEEN STREET CIRCUIT

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): N/M/001
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives/Pages/ ›
Full title: LONDON METHODIST MISSION (WEST) CIRCUIT/ GREAT QUEEN STREET CIRCUIT
Date(s): 1807-1904
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.25 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Methodist Church of Great Britain x United Methodist Church x Wesleyan Methodist Church x Primitive Methodist Church

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

A Methodist circuit is normally a group of churches in a local area served by a team of ministers. A minister will have pastoral charge of one or more churches, but will preach and lead worship in different local churches in the circuit, along with local preachers. The arrangements for leading worship in a circuit are drawn up in a quarterly Plan.

Hugh Price Hughes a Wesleyan Minister in London founded the West London Mission in 1887 as part of the Forward Movement in Methodism which stressed that faith had to be expressed in social and political as well as personal life. The Inaugural meeting of the then West Central Mission was on 21st October 1887 with the Sermon at St. James' Hall, Piccadilly preached by C.H. Spurgeon. The West London Mission remained at St. James' Hall which was a popular Concert Hall, until 1905 when it was demolished to form the Piccadilly Hotel. The Mission moved to Exeter Hall, another concert hall, in the Strand.

In 1906 the Methodist Conference gave the Mission its own building, the Wesleyan Chapel at Great Queen Street. The building was later condemned by the LCC and the Mission were temporarily housed in the Lyceum Theatre, while on Great Queen Street at the old site a new place of worship, Kingsway Hall, was under construction. Kingsway Hall opened in 1912 and enjoyed nearly 70 years of occupation until it was sold in the eighties after the amalgamation of the Kingsway Circuit and Hinde Street; the Mission returned to the West End to Thayer Street/Hinde Street.

In the early days, much of the day to day work went on in smaller chapels and halls in the middle of slum areas where social needs were great. These buildings such as Craven Hall at Fouberts Place were used for a wide variety of activities not just devotional but social, education and welfare. However, this use of smaller halls was dropped after the First World War in favour of the new Kingsway Hall premises.

Since its beginning the West London Mission has been involved with social work. One of its first services offered was a Crèche. There were also job registries and men's social department catering for the unemployed, dispensaries and free surgeries, a poor man's lawyer service, a Home of Peace for the Dying, a home for homeless girls - The Winchester House, and a clothing store. In the 1920s and 1930s the social work of the West London Mission expanded. They set up hostels for abandoned mothers and for girls in London without jobs and in 1923 a Mission Maternity Hospital was established. The social work continued and now includes St. Luke's and St. Mary's Hostels for men and women, Emerson Bainbridge House for young offenders and the Katherine Price Hughes house set up in 1937 and which now provides accommodation for men and women on probation and bail.

Another aspect of the work of the Mission was Open Air Ministry. There were open air services on the streets every evening and in Hyde Park on Sundays which included the Mission brass band. One of the most well known open air preachers was the Reverend Lord Donald Soper whose outdoor work began in 1927 at Tower Hill and in 1942 at Speakers' Corner.

The Mission now has its home at 19 Thayer Street.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Quarterly Meetings minute books, 1807-1847; ledger, 1807-1812; Chapel Fund ledger, 1815-1823 and account books, 1874-1904.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English

System of arrangement:

Five volumes

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited 10 March 1971 (AC/71/024)

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also ACC/3756, LMA/4057 and N/M/002.


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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