St. James Bible Christian chapel, Stanstead Road, Forest Hill

St. James Bible Christian Church, Stanstead Road, Forest Hill
Bible Christian Magazine 1884
St. James Church, Forest Hill

The Bible Christian church and hall in Stanstead Road, Forest Hill (on the corner of Elsinore Road) was designed by James Tolley in 1881, and this architect’s drawing was published in the Bible Christian Magazine.

The memorial stones were laid on 1st December 1883, and the church opened on 27th July 1884. The estimated cost was £8,650 which may account for the detail in which progress towards this target is described in the pages of the Bible Christian Magazine.

There were two religious censuses in London in Victorian and Edwardian times. On 24th October 1886 it was recorded that the morning congregation was 145, with an evening congregation of 211. At some point during early 1903 the numbers at the morning and evening services were lower, 120 (including 43 children) in the morning and 129 (18 children) in the evening. In 1940 it was thought to seat 482, and thirty years later, 330, so even at the height of churchgoing, a ‘normal’ service would only a quarter fill the building.

At some point after 1970 the various Methodist churches in Forest Hill seem to have been replaced by a single modern building, which is still in use.

Please get in touch with us if you can tell us anything about St. James church, especially if can supply a photograph.

Sources:
The Bible Christian Magazine 1884, Vol. 63,  pp80, 138 and 428

The Religious census of London. Hodder and Stoughton, 1888

The Religious life of London. Hodder and Stoughton, 1904

The Methodist Church, Department of Chapel Affairs. Statistical returns 1940

The Methodist Church, Department of Chapel Affairs. Statistical returns part 1, 1972

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