History

A Brief History of the Church now worshipping at Tamworth Road Chapel


Click here for a pdf document of the full history

On July 8th 1721, Amos Harrison registered his house to be licensed for 'Worship by Baptists'.

It was not long before the congregation increased and it became necessary to open a chapel named 'Salem' in 1729, situated in the part of Croydon known as 'Pump Pail' near to a spring and stream which gave the location that name. Amos Harrison continued his ministerial labours there until his death in 1761. (The chapel was eventually demolished in about 1934 to make way for council houses. They in turn were demolished in about 1967 when the Croydon Flyover was constructed. The spring and stream flowing from it are now in an artificial channel underground.)

After Mr Harrison's death he was succeeded by Peter Webb who filled the position of Pastor from 1771-1772.

The next Pastor, who took up office in 1793, was Jonathan Franklin who composed a number of hymns, three of which can be found in the hymnbook we currently use - Gadsby's Selection.

When his Pastorate ended in 1806, John Morris an evangelist from Kent was the successor, but left in 1808 to become Pastor at Ightham.

Other Pastors followed:

  • William House 1816-1820
  • Mr Raxworthy 1822-1823
  • Nathaniel Tidd 1824-1829
  • W. Chappell 1831-1836
  • T. Woodington 1849-1858
  • J. Thurston 1860-1875

During Mr Thurston's Pastorate, the foundation stone of our present chapel in Tamworth Road was laid in 1866 and the building opened on 4th March 1867.

Mr Thurston left in 1875 accompanied by some of his followers, and conducted services in Croydon Public Hall. This eventually led to a new chapel at Derby Road being constructed. (This is now in the hands of the Church of God (Seventh Day)).

A further breakaway in 1877 led to the formation of a church at Salem Chapel Windmill Road. (This is now used as a small industrial unit.)

Mr Joseph Willis commenced his Pastorate in 1880 and continued until his death in 1886.

He was followed in 1892 by Ebenezer Wilmshurst who had a particular interest in the spiritual welfare of the young. The Sunday School prospered so much under his care that a larger schoolroom had to be erected and was opened in early1903. Sadly he passed away at the comparatively young age of 56 years after a short illness.

The church then suffered a serious decline until in 1922 George Rose of Cranbrook accepted an invitation to the Pastorate. The church greatly prospered under his ministry, the chapel being invariably full, with extra seats placed in the aisles. There were approximately 55 new additions to church membership during his ministry. He was never in good health though, and resigned his Pastorate in 1940 to take charge of the congregation at Kirkland, North Lancashire.

Eventually Mr Clement Wood of Tunbridge Wells was invited to take up the Pastorate, which he did in January 1961. His ministry was much blessed to many, not only at Tamworth Road Chapel, but at other places of worship around the country. On 13th January 2001 special services were held to mark the 40th anniversary of his Pastorate, when once again the chapel was full to capacity and at least 300 persons were provided with a very pleasant tea between the two services held on that day.

Increasing age and bodily weakness led Mr Wood reluctantly to resign his Pastorate in 2005. Since then we have been ably supplied by a number of visiting ministers together with our deacon Geoff Haddow who has also preached on many occasions.

We now look to the Lord to provide another Pastor for us in His own time.

The building itself has been well-maintained over the years inside and out. One of the more recent projects being replacement of the original windows with more modern double-glazed ones, without spoiling their graceful appearance or the typical style of a Victorian Non-conformist Chapel.