Kensington, Warwick Gardens Wesleyan Methodist chapel

Warwick Gardens chapel
W. Pepperrell The Church Index: a book of Metropolitan Churches and church enterprise. Part 1 London: W. Wells Gardner, 1872
Warwick Gardens Wesleyan Methodist chapel

This chapel in the Bayswater Circuit  resulted from an architectural competion but, not for the only time in building history, the winning design was put aside for something cheaper. The design executed was by the prolific firm of Lockwood and Mawson of Bradford. This was for a building of red brick with black bands and Bath stone dressings, with aisles, a high roof, and a slim tower and spire in the south-west position. Inside was a timber arcade and the usual array of galleries, while in a semi-basement were schoolrooms ‘and a residence for the chapel-keeper’.  William Pepperrell, writing in 1872, informed us that “ Enclosed by iron gates and rails, and dwarf walls, the chapel is approached by a flight of steps and entered by a vestibule or lobby, which also gives access, to the right and left, to the gallery stairs.  Inside, considering the large galleries, which at all times are an objection, the effect is exceedingly good.  The light ribbed roof over the body of the chapel is supported by a timber arcade of very good design, and if, instead of iron, the columns that receive the arcade had been of wood, we should, in spite of the galleries, have been able to report some very successfully effective work.  The organ is recessed, and appears just above a somewhat tall and bulky pulpit.  Beyond this there is very little to remark save the quiet neatness that prevails generally.  The basement is occupied by school and class rooms and offices, with separate entrances and approaches.”

The foundation stone was laid in May 1863, and opened on 10 December 1863, contained some 1,100 sittings. But Pepperell reported in 1871 that an average congregation amounted to some 200 only, and ‘a number of these are from a distance, and properly belonging to other Methodist congregations’.  In 1886 an average congregation numbered 220 in the morning and 310 in the evening, whilst a more accurate count on a Sunday in 1902-03 recorded 51 adults and 26 children in the morning, with a larger congregation of 127 adults and 17 children in the evening.

According to The Survey of London ” the chapel never attained much prosperity or influence. In about 1925 it was closed, its site sold to the Prudential Assurance Company, and shortly afterwards houses were built upon the site. ”



W. Pepperrell The Church Index: a book of Metropolitan Churches and church enterprise. Part 1 London: W. Wells Gardner, 1872

Religious Census of London, 1886

The Religious life of London, 1904

Survey of London. Vol. 42: Kensington Square to Earl’s Court. London: London County Council, 1986 p394

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