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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): N/C/28
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1823-1895
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.15 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Congregational Church of England and Wales


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Craven Chapel was opened in 1822 on part of the site of the former Carnaby Market. The project was financed by Thomas Wilson, a retired merchant who from 1799 onwards had devoted himself to the building and repair of Congregational chapels. Wilson particularly wished to open a chapel in the Westminster area, and in 1821 he obtained a site from Lord Craven. The foundation stone of the chapel was laid in March 1822 and the building was opened for worship on 11 December 1822.

A Congregational church was formed on 25 April 1823, but no permanent minister was called and for the next eight years the congregation was served by visiting preachers. In May 1831 the Reverend John Leifchild was appointed as minister of the chapel. During his ministry the Craven Chapel attracted a large congregation, many of the members living 'scattered over half London'. Leifchild retired in 1854, but the congregation appears to have remained fairly numerous under his immediate successors, for early in 1874 a lecture hall and schools were opened on the north side of Foubert's Place. These were planned to replace the basement school-rooms which were part of the original chapel plan. Work was begun in the spring of 1873.

By 1894, however, the congregation seems to have felt that it could no longer continue in the area and the leases of both the Craven Chapel and Craven Hall were assigned to the West London Mission of the Methodist Church. Four years later the lease of the chapel expired, and the building was converted into a stable for the Lion brewery in Broad(wick) Street. In 1907 the West London Mission sold the lease of the hall to Messrs. Liberty. The hall is now used as a warehouse, and the chapel for industrial purposes.

From: 'Marshall Street Area', Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2 (1963), pp. 196-208.


Scope and content/abstract:

Brief historical account of foundation of Church, statement of Belief, list of members with additions and revisions, 1823-1830; minutes of Church meetings and copies of correspondence, 1830-1831; list of deacons, 1830-1883; biographical notes on ministers of the Church, 1892; minutes of Church, Special and Committee meetings, 1858-1894; letter conveying decision against union of Craven and Orange Street Chapels, 1889 and final balance sheet of Craven Chapel, 1895.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Minutes, Correspondence and Financial Records.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited 20th August, 1964 (AC/064/48)

Allied Materials

Related material:

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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