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west street church

Our history

     old church

 Early beginnings

On July2nd 1810 the foundation stone was laid for the church in West Street,

it was financed by John Burt from Forest Row, and the church was officially opened less than a year later 23rd April 1811, a well -known preacher of the time, Rowland Hill spoke at the inaugural service, and the church grew, opening a Sunday School in May 1811, which had 400 children attending within a year.  There was a need to accommodate more worshippers, so in 1812 internal galleries were added to the building.

Real expansion

In 1862 a class room and vestry were added to the building, which was used by the present congregation when they took over the building in the 1980s until the main church was refurbished, more  recently these have become a small hall, with a kitchen and cloakrooms. The following year the manse was built next to the church although this was eventually sold separately and is now a small block of flats.

World War 2     women

The church has been in constant use over the years, during the 1939-45 war the building was used as a canteen for servicemen, the north wall suffered bomb damage which local builders repaired in 1945. The organ was installed during the war years.

 

Neglect

The building continued to be used until 1977 when the congregation left the building, and it was left empty. 

The building had become neglected and was acquired by the present congregation in 1980; the building they were using in London Road was small and soon to be demolished. The church was led by Percy Scarland and although small in number, the members worked to address the structural problems of the building and to update it, in keeping with the style and architecture of a 200year old listed building.

 

Celebrations

The north wall was made structurally secure and the rotting floorboards were removed and a new floor installed. A baptistry was built and first used in 1988. Over the years modernisation and refurbishment have been carried out, particularly in 2010 when a major refurbishment and redecoration was carried out in preparation for the 200th anniversary celebrations.

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_wschurch @_wschurch @RachelHHamilton Oh no, it is grim when that happens, but keep going , worth it . .
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_wschurch I had a knock back 😕 via @RachelHHamilton
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_wschurch Just had v. positive response to a ‘Venture’ card “I’ll come” he said! so excited http://t.co/fRU6vyXyDe
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_wschurch @RachelHHamilton No pressure then, see you then via @JohnScarland
_wschurch I for one am looking forward to the next instalment 😀 via @RachelHHamilton