A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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Francis Warham, the vicar ejected in 1662, (fn. 1) was licensed as a Congregationalist in 1672, (fn. 2) when he was living at Upper Hale. (fn. 3) Richard Swift, ejected from Edgware in 1660, (fn. 4) was imprisoned on several occasions for holding conventicles in his house, Jeanettes, at Mill Hill. (fn. 5) The Independents who registered Samuel Everard's house at Childs Hill as a place of worship in 1672 (fn. 6) may have been the dissenters who registered Mary Everett's house there in 1690. (fn. 7)
The Quakers were the most active of the early sectaries. (fn. 8) George Fox conducted a well-attended meeting in 1677 and returned in 1678. By the early 1680s there were regular meetings at Guttershedge and Mill Hill, supervised by a separate monthly meeting. Attendance at Mill Hill declined during the later 1680s, revived during the following decade, and was again declining by 1707. Thereafter numbers at both Mill Hill and Guttershedge continued to fall, until in 1729 the Hendon meetings were merged with the Peel meeting at Clerkenwell. After an abortive revival at Guttershedge in the 1730s both meeting-houses were sold, although several notable Quakers continued to live in Hendon.
Presbyterianism may have contributed to the Quakers' decline. In 1730 Mary Nicholl's house at Highwood Hill was registered by seven Presbyterians, led by Celia Fiennes, who owned the property. (fn. 9) By the end of the 18th century, however, it was claimed that there were no dissenters in the parish. (fn. 10)
Independents took a lead in the general revival of nonconformity, establishing places of worship at Highwood Hill in 1797 (fn. 11) and in Parson Street in 1799. (fn. 12) In 1807 Independents founded Mill Hill school, whose chapel, used by local people, (fn. 13) was said in 1816 to be the only dissenters' meeting-place but to be thinly attended. (fn. 14) Independents began to meet in a cottage at Holcombe Hill in 1822 (fn. 15) and at the Hyde in 1836, (fn. 16) but in 1851 Mill Hill school chapel was their sole place of worship, with an average morning attendance of 200. (fn. 17)
Wesleyan Methodism was introduced by Henry Burden, whose open-air preaching at the Burroughs was violently opposed. (fn. 18) His house in Brent Street was registered for worship in 1821, another house was registered in 1824, (fn. 19) and in 1827 a permanent chapel opened in Chapel Walk. (fn. 20)
Baptists used a house at Childs Hill in 1823, (fn. 21) registered a house at the Burroughs in 1831, (fn. 22) and built a small chapel in Brent Street in 1832. After 1843 the chapel served as a warehouse (fn. 23) until it was taken over in 1845 by the Shouldham Street Baptist chapel, St. Marylebone, which share it with Congregationalists. (fn. 24) In 1851 there were 30 worshippers (fn. 25) but attendance dwindled after the opening of Hendon Congregational church and in 1857 services ceased. (fn. 26) Another Baptist church, founded at the Hyde in 1843, had closed by 1857. (fn. 27)
The late 19th century saw the permanent establishment of the major sects. (fn. 28) Congregationalists opened a chapel in Brent Street in 1855 and, after several setbacks, Baptists followed suit in Finchley Lane in 1878. Both groups owed much to local families, the Spaldings of Shire Hall and the Smarts of Brent Street, and both produced offshoots at the Hyde and Mill Hill. The Salvation Army appeared in 1881 and the Wesleyans moved to a larger chapel in 1891. On one Sunday in 1903 over two-fifths of the 7,823 worshippers were nonconformists, while Anglicans accounted for 2,932 and Roman Catholics for 1,391. Baptists constituted by far the largest sect, with an attendance of 1,277, while Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists together totalled 768. (fn. 29)
In the 20th century the older denominations erected small churches on the housing estates, while new sects arrived, many of them from the U.S.A. Two of the newcomers, the Pillar of Fire Society in 1926 and Jehovah's Witnesses in 1959, chose Hendon for their national headquarters. The interdenominational church built in Hampstead Garden Suburb in 1910 was said at the time of opening to be unique in England.
Society of Friends.
In 1678, the year after George Fox conducted a successful meeting at Ann Hayly's house at Guttershedge, (fn. 30) Quakers leased a low weatherboarded building in Mill Hill; the building was enlarged in 1693 and survived in 1970, when it was called Rosebank. (fn. 31) During the 1690s, after regular meetings had been established at Guttershedge and Mill Hill, (fn. 32) some local Quakers were distrained for their tithes. (fn. 33) The Mill Hill meeting, after a brief decline, registered new premises in 1692, acquired better ones by 1695, and erected a new meeting-house in 1701. (fn. 34) In 1707, however, falling attendance caused Apphia Nicholl to seek support from the London quarterly meeting. In 1709 meetings at both Mill Hill and Guttershedge were held once every two months, (fn. 35) by 1719 there were doubts about retaining a separate meeting for the Hendon area, (fn. 36) and in 1729 a merger was effected with the Peel meeting at Clerkenwell. (fn. 37) In 1733 an attempt was made to revive the meetings at Guttershedge but within 6 years they had ceased. (fn. 38) The meeting-house was later sold, although the burial ground was reserved for Quakers, (fn. 39) and in 1739 the Mill Hill meeting-house also was sold. (fn. 40) Despite the cessation of regular worship, later Quaker residents included Michael Russell, Peter and Michael Collinson, and Richard Salisbury, all of whom lived at Ridgeway House, which became the nucleus of Mill Hill school. (fn. 41)
In the early 20th century Quakers at Hampstead Garden Suburb attended the services that preceded the establishment of the Free Church, before hiring their own room in the Club House, Willifield Green, in 1910. Largely as a result of the initiative of J. B. (later Sir John) Braithwaite, a permanent red-brick meeting-house, designed by Frederick Rowntree, was opened in Central Square in 1913. (fn. 42)
Methodists. (fn. 43)
Hendon Methodist (W) church was built in Chapel Walk in 1827, six years after Henry Burden, the vicar's gardener, registered a house in Brent Street. The chapel originally accommodated 100 worshippers (fn. 44) but was extended in 1871. (fn. 45) A new church in the Burroughs was registered in 1891, as Hendon Methodist chapel, (fn. 46) and replaced in 1937 by a modernistic building of red brick, designed by Welch and Lander. (fn. 47) The Methodist institute was opened at the rear in 1910 and modernized and renamed the Henry Burden hall in 1964. (fn. 48)
Ridgeway Methodist (W) church originated in the late 1880s, when a Wesleyan mission was opened in a temporary iron hall in Mill Hill. (fn. 51) In 1893 a red-brick chapel in the Perpendicular style was built by the village pond. (fn. 52) At first Ridgeway Methodist church was under the control of Hendon Methodist church, but in 1970 it was linked with Goodwyn Avenue Methodist church. (fn. 53)
Golders Green (W) church stood by 1915 at the corner of Armitage Road. (fn. 56) In 1922 it was replaced by a brick church in Hodford Road, built in the Byzantine style, with a square plan and four corner towers. (fn. 57)
Goodwyn Avenue (W) church, a brick building in the Perpendicular style, was opened in Mill Hill in 1930. (fn. 58) After the Second World War a hall was added at the rear.
Hendon Congregational church (fn. 59) was opened in Brent Street in 1855. It was an aisleless building of Kentish ragstone in the Decorated style, designed by W. G. and E. Habershon. (fn. 60) In 1876 a gallery increased the number of seats to 500 and in 1901 a hall named after Thomas Spalding, one of the founders of the church, was opened. In 1950 the building was reopened after bomb damage and given stained glass windows from Avenue Road Congregational church, Swiss Cottage, which had closed in 1941. There was seating for 250 in 1972. (fn. 61)
The Hyde church originated in services in a hut in Edgware Road opposite Manor Farm in 1873. (fn. 62) Members became affiliated to Hendon Congregational church in 1900, at about the time when they built a permanent church. In 1909 Hendon Congregational church ceased to exercise responsibility and shortly afterwards the church at the Hyde closed for about four years. (fn. 63) It was reopened as a mission by Cricklewood Congregational church, (fn. 64) whose daughter church it had become by 1931. (fn. 65) The congregation transferred c. 1930 to a hall in Colin Close and became independent in 1936. (fn. 66) A new red-brick church, facing Edgware Road, was opened in 1956, when the building in Colin Close became a church hall. (fn. 67) The church built c. 1900 was used as a motor-car showroom in 1969.
Union church (fn. 68) was established by Congregationalists after the expansion of Mill Hill school had deprived them of the use of the school chapel. A small iron hall in Tennyson Road on the Birkbeck estate, formerly used by Baptists, was rented in 1908 and vacated in 1911, when services were started in a temporary building at the foot of Lawrence Street, later the Broadway. The church was renamed Union church in 1918 and a hall was built in 1927. The temporary church was replaced in 1936 by a cruciform building of red brick in a plain Gothic style, with an open timber roof and a low western tower, designed by Arnold Harwood and Martin Briggs.
Watling church was opened in Eversfield Gardens, on the edge of the Watling estate, in 1938. (fn. 69) It was dependent on Union church, until in 1942 it acquired its own minister. (fn. 70) The church was a plain brick hall, used also for social activities in 1970. (fn. 71)
Mill Hill East Free church began when members of Union church started a Sunday school in a hall in 1944, seven years before a permanent church was opened in Salcombe Gardens. (fn. 72) At first it was supervised by the minister of Watling church, with help from Union church, until in 1956 a full-time minister was appointed. (fn. 73) A new church, with a west wall of glass bricks and a pyramid-shaped roof, was opened in 1963, when the original brick building was converted into a church hall. (fn. 74)
Hendon Baptist church (fn. 75) was formed in 1873 by a group led by E. J. Smart, a Brent Street ironmonger, which had been meeting since c. 1869 in the former Hendon charity school in Church Road. In 1878 the congregation moved to an iron hall in Finchley Lane, built by Stephen Shirley as a temperance hall. A permanent church, seating 600, was opened in 1886 on a sloping site 80 yards to the west. It was designed by J. E. Sears in an individualistic version of 13th-century Gothic, and is an aisled cruciform building, whose crypt serves as a church hall.
West Hendon Baptist church arose from a Sunday school which was meeting in private premises in Pollard Road in 1884. Through the efforts of E. J. Smart, a mission hall, used also as a day school, was built in Edgware Road in 1885; the building survived behind a shop in 1970. (fn. 76) Members began meeting in new premises on the corner of Wilberforce and Station roads in 1898 (fn. 77) and shared a minister with Hendon Baptist church until 1901. (fn. 78) A church of brick and pebble-dash was built in 1930. (fn. 79) It had seating for 250 in 1970, (fn. 80) when the old church was used as a hall.
Childs Hill Baptist chapel originated in open-air meetings which were held in a cock-pit at the Old Mead in 1865 and were transferred to a laundry in Granville Road in 1866, (fn. 81) shortly before the foundation of the chapel. In 1875 new premises in Granville Road, erected at the expense of Heath Street church, Hampstead, were registered for worship. (fn. 82) The church was built of brick in a partially Byzantine style and a hall of similar design was added later. The seating capacity was 400 in 1972. (fn. 83)
Claremont Baptist Free church originated in a mission started by Childs Hill Baptists in Claremont Road, Cricklewood, by 1928. (fn. 84) A separate church was formed in 1931, (fn. 85) when brick premises, registered in 1935, were erected between Claremont Road and Cheviot Gardens. A brick hall was added in 1958. (fn. 86) There was seating for 350 worshippers in 1972. (fn. 87)
Tennyson Road mission arose from a Baptist group which was flourishing at Mill Hill in 1881. (fn. 88) A chapel was built in Tennyson Road between 1894 and 1896 but by 1906 had been leased to the Brethren. (fn. 89) In 1908 the building became the first meeting-place of Union Congregational church.
In 1938 a long-established chapel in Christchurch Passage, Hampstead, was compulsorily purchased, whereupon the congregation took over a building in Bridge Lane, Temple Fortune, (fn. 90) which was registered as Ebenezer Strict Baptist chapel later that year. (fn. 91) In 1972 the congregation was affiliated to the 'Gospel Standard' section of Strict Baptists.
The Salvation Army.
Meetings began in a wooden hall behind premises on the west side of Brent Street in 1881, (fn. 92) where General William Booth attended the laying of the foundation stone of a permanent building in 1884. (fn. 93) The hall was burned down in 1935 and replaced in 1937 by a red-brick building. (fn. 94) A second brick building facing Brampton Grove was registered in 1957 and in 1970 formed the headquarters of the Hendon corps, although the earlier hall was still in use. (fn. 95)
At Childs Hill Salvationists were meeting in the former Primitive Methodist chapel in Finchley Road by 1915. (fn. 96) The premises were registered in 1931 (fn. 97) and in 1970 were used as the Army's North London divisional headquarters.
At Burnt Oak a hall was opened in Barnfield Road, to serve the Watling estate, in 1934. (fn. 98) Services were held there in 1969.
Interdenominational. (fn. 101)
Hampstead Garden Suburb Free church originated in services which were transferred from a wooden hut in Hampstead Way to the newly-opened institute in 1909. A United Free church, designed to serve all nonconformist denominations, was established in 1910 under the auspices of the London Baptist Association, after the Baptists had conceded that membership would be on the widest possible basis. The church building, occupying a prominent site in Central Square provided by the Garden Suburb Trust, was opened in 1911, although it was not completed until after the Second World War. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed the manse, to complement his Anglican church of St. Jude at the opposite side of the square. The Free church is a large domed structure of brick, with a steep tiled roof; it is cruciform in plan and has a severely classical interior, with a tunnelvaulted nave separated from the aisles by Doric columns. In 1969 it was served by both Baptist and Congregationalist ministers.
The Presbyterian Church of England formed a congregation at Golders Green, probably in 1910. (fn. 102) Premises on the corner of Helenslea Avenue and Finchley Road were opened for worship in 1911 and, as St. Ninian's church, registered for marriages in 1912. The church, a redbrick building in the Perpendicular style, was designed by T. Phillips Figgis. The foundation stone of a church hall, which replaced a wooden hut, was laid in 1925.
Unitarians opened All Souls church in Hoop Lane, Golders Green, in 1925, after moving from Weech Road, Hampstead. (fn. 103) The building, a small basilican red-brick structure in the Early Christian style, was designed by G. R. Farrow and J. R. Turner. (fn. 104)
The Pillar of Fire Society established a chapel in Brent Street in 1926 and named it after the society's American founder, Alma White, as part of a complex of buildings which included a Bible college and a school. (fn. 105) The society still held evangelistic services and ran a kindergarten school at the college in 1971. (fn. 106)
The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance registered Elim tabernacle, Somerset Road, in 1928. (fn. 107) It was later replaced by premises in near-by Ravenshurst Avenue, which were used by the Alliance in 1968.
Christian Brethren opened a hall on the corner of Gervase Road and Watling Avenue in 1928. It was later named Woodcroft Evangelical church and was still in use in 1968. (fn. 108)
The Christian Science Society (fn. 109) began meeting in Highfields, Golders Green Road, in 1930. Later in that year it purchased Fosters, overlooking Brent Green, which it immediately registered as the First Church of Christ Scientist, Hendon. In 1961 a new church was built between Brent Green and Fosters. (fn. 110) The building is octagonal, with a copper roof surmounted by a spire, and has brickwork relieved by stepped slit windows and a glazed porch.
Assemblies of God met on the first floor of premises in West Hendon Broadway in 1943. (fn. 111) By 1956 the group apparently was linked with the Hendon Brotherhood Movement, which met in its own brick and concrete building in the Broadway. (fn. 112) The Hendon Sanctuary and Truth Centre, a room on the ground floor of no. 96 Finchley Lane, was registered in 1959 by a group of unspecified worshippers, (fn. 113) who had ceased using it by 1968.
Jehovah's Witnesses opened a new national headquarters at Watchtower House, on the site of Bittacy House, Mill Hill, in 1959. Part of the premises was registered for worship, (fn. 114) although regular meetings were not held there. Watchtower House contained a large printing works, extended in 1965, and a training school for ministers. (fn. 115) It was designed by Keith Roberts as a Z-shaped building, of red brick with some glass curtain-walling. (fn. 116)
Christadelphians worshipped in the Co-operative hall at West Hendon in 1962 and continued to meet there in 1969. (fn. 117) Christian Spiritualists registered the Golders Green Sanctuary of the Spirit, in Finchley Road, in 1951 but apparently no longer used it in 1969. (fn. 118)