Sunday 6 May 2012

Great Grandma Was Here!

We are in London for the Annual Baptist Assembly Meetings. This morning we will be joining the Methodist congregation at Westminster Central Hall for our morning worship. WCH was opened exactly one hundred years ago this year. It was built to commemorate the centenary of the death of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Close by the houses of Parliament, it is a well known building and has been used by many groups down the years for different meetings. Grade 2 listed, it has many rooms – the Great Hall has a capacity of 2160 according to the website

methodist_ central hall

I have been there many times [and Bob preached at their Ladies’ Meeting in 1983!]

But we are staying with Liz and Jon,at their flat in Elephant and Castle, just round the corner from this building

met tab

The “Met Tab”, or “Spurgeon’s Tabernacle” as this edifice is known, was first built in 1861 to house the growing congregations who came to listen to Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great Victorian preacher from Essex. The building burnt down in 1898, leaving just the Front Portico and the basement- and was rebuilt. In 1941, Hitler’s bombs again destroyed all but the portico – and again it was rebuilt. I do not think I have ever been inside. But at the end of the 19th century, my great grandmother used to attend Mr Spurgeon’s Bible Class here.

I wonder if she could have imagined that all these years later her great-great-granddaughter would live just a couple of streets away – or that there would be so many preachers among her descendants?


  1. My grandmother used to worship there and my great grandparents! do you think they too might have been friends?!!!
    When my great grandfather died at 40, my great grandmother was a cleaner at Pastor's college which was in the same road as where she lived with all their children!

  2. I've never been in Met Tab, although many years ago I used to buy books via mail order from them. I have however slept in Westminster Central Hall! When I was a teenager our minister knew someone there and when we came down for MAYC weekend we slept in a couple of back upstairs rooms somewhere inside.


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