A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.
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PROTESTANT NONCONFORMITY. (fn. 1)
During the second decade of the 19th century Protestant dissenters began meeting in private houses in Willesden Green. (fn. 2) One of the houses belonged to the mother of Oliver Nodes who visited her each Sunday and read from the sermons of the Evangelist George Burder. They were joined by neighbours, forming the congregation which in 1820 founded Willesden Green Independent (Congregational) chapel. (fn. 3) Houses were registered for worship by dissenters in the 1830s at Fortune Gate, Harlesden, Willesden Green, and Kensal Green. (fn. 4) A Wesleyan chapel opened in Harlesden c. 1847, a Baptist chapel in West Kilburn in 1865, and a Presbyterian church at Fortune Gate in 1875.
The great expansion of nonconformity from the late 1870s until the First World War mirrored the growth of building in Willesden, chapels and mission halls opening in the rapidly developing districts of Kilburn, Harlesden, and Willesden, especially during the 1880s and 1890s. The parish, increasingly working-class with poor church attendance, was compared in 1903 with Stepney or St. Pancras. Most of those attending places of worship were Protestant nonconformists. (fn. 5) In areas like Kilburn the division was less between Church and Dissent than between High and Low Church. The Irish Roman Catholics and ritualist High Anglicans were vehemently opposed by the Low Church Anglicans and nonconformists; people moved frequently from one nonconformist sect to another. (fn. 6)
By 1903 there were 45 Protestant nonconformist places of worship, attended on one Sunday by 4,111 people in the morning and 7,512 in the evening, nearly three fifths of those worshipping in Willesden on that day. The Methodists, with 2,982 attendances at 10 chapels, formed the largest denomination, followed by the Presbyterians (1,748 attendances at 6 chapels), Baptists (1,738 at 5 chapels), and Congregationalists (1,411 at 4 chapels). Of the 45 chapels and halls, Kilburn and Willesden Green each had 10, Harlesden 8, Kensal Green and the area stretching from Stonebridge to Church End 5 each, Neasden 4, Brondesbury 2, and Cricklewood 1. (fn. 7)
Between 1903 and 1914 the Baptists opened five chapels or halls and built a larger chapel at Willesden Green, and there was limited expansion by the other established sects. Several mission halls closed, and after the First World War closures were more frequent than openings in spite of the spread of building to Neasden and Cricklewood in the 1930s. There were 41 chapels and halls by 1933 and 27 by 1963. (fn. 8) Since then 13 have closed and 8 opened. As the established sects have contracted, newer sects, often Pentecostalist, have expanded, often using old chapels, especially in areas like Harlesden where membership is largely West Indian. (fn. 9)
Congregation of 'Protestant Dissenters' met in house of Kelita Kilby at Willesden Green 1815. Independents met at house of Oliver Nodes 1817. (fn. 10) Small, plain chapel with pedimented front and round-headed windows built 1820 at junction of High Rd. and Dudden Hill Lane. (fn. 11) Attendance 1851: 20 a.m.; 30 p.m. (fn. 12) Larger chapel built 1878 to west, at junction of High Rd. and Pound Lane. (fn. 13) Attendance 1903: 108 a.m.; 131 p.m. Original bldg. used for Sunday sch. until closed 1907. (fn. 14)
St. James's iron Cong. chapel opened in Cambridge Rd., Kilburn, by 1872 and closed by 1903. (fn. 15)
Independent mission chapel opened in Carlton Rd. (later Vale) by 1890 and closed 1913. (fn. 16) Attendance 1903: 49 a.m.; 98 p.m.
Iron mission chapel in Cricklewood Lane (Hendon) opened by Lyndhurst Rd. (Hampstead) church 1885. (fn. 17) Congregation moved to brick bldg., Lown memorial hall in Howard Rd., Cricklewood 1893. New chapel in Gothic style with tower opened 1902 in Chichele Rd. (fn. 18) Attendance 1903: 187 a.m.; 402 p.m. Had 21 members 1978. (fn. 19) Closed and reopened as mosque by 1980. (fn. 20)
Congregation met in constitutional hall in St. Mary's Rd., Harlesden before foundation stone of chapel laid at corner of Church and West Ella roads 1899. (fn. 21) Red brick bldg. with stone dressings in Gothic style with asymmetrical SW. tower, designed by Spalding and Spalding for 800. Chapel and adjoining lecture hall reg. 1901. (fn. 22) Attendance 1903: 153 a.m.; 283 p.m. Declining numbers led to leasing of chapel to film company c. 1962, congregation thereafter using hall. Membership 1963-4: 71; 1978: 30. (fn. 23)
Chapel opened at Craven Hill (Bayswater) 1846. Congregation moved 1912 to new chapel in Wrentham Ave., Brondesbury Park. Had 79 members 1963-6. Closed by 1972 and bldg. used for youth and community service 1978. (fn. 24)
Hamilton hall, 375-7 High Rd., Willesden Green, licensed for worship by Cong. 1914-25. (fn. 25)
Wes. chapel built c. 1847 on north side of Harrow Rd. (High St., Harlesden) and closed c. 1856. (fn. 26) Replaced by Willesden (Junction) Wes. chapel, accommodating 300, on eastern side of Harrow Rd., opposite Crown inn 1869-81. (fn. 27) Bldg. used as Sunday sch., then shop after new chapel accommodating 1,030, of red brick with stone dressings in early Gothic style with tower and spire by Charles Bell, opened 1882 on adjacent site (25 High St.). (fn. 28) Attendance 1903: 240 a.m.; 435 p.m. Opened Tavistock hall, seating 500, 1906. Chapel damaged 1940 and demol. 1941. New brick chapel, seating 250, built 1956 in plain, modern style by A. MacDonald. Hall used as youth and community centre 1978. (fn. 29)
Chapel of stock bricks with slate roof built 1878 at junction of Cambridge and Malvern Rds., Kilburn Park for Free (later United) Meths. Attendance 1903: 35 a.m.; 104 p.m. Closed 1934. (fn. 30)
Peel Rd. chapel in Percy Rd. Kilburn Park reg. for Bible Christians 1880. Attendance 1903: 81 a.m.; 166 p.m. Recertificated for Bible Christian United Meths. 1907 and closed 1948. Used as Roman Catholic church of Immaculate Heart of Mary (q.v.). (fn. 31)
Wes. Meths. met 1886 in ho. in College Rd., Kensal Rise. Tin chapel opened 1887 in Hiley Rd. Brick chapel with stone dressings in Gothic style with tower and spire opened 1900 at corner of Chamberlayne Wood Rd. and Ladysmith Rd. (later Wrentham Ave.). Attendance 1903: 330 a.m.; 568 p.m. Chapel sold to Roman Catholics (q.v.) 1977 and Meths. met in adjacent hall. (fn. 32)
Wes. services held in cottage in Quainton St., Neasden 1880s and shop in Kingsbury Rd. leased rent-free from Metropolitan Rly. Co. 1896. Attendance 1903: 37 a.m.; 13 p.m. Iron chapel accommodating 300 built 1905 at corner of Neasden Lane and Verney St. on railway land and supported by Rly. Mission Co. Iron chapel moved 1928 to new site at junction of Neasden Lane and North Circular. Replaced 1937 by brown-brick chapel accommodating 400 on new site in Neasden Lane, north of North Circular Road. Damaged 1945 and reopened after repairs 1947. (fn. 33) Closed 1980 and services held in hall.
Free (later United) Meth. chapel seating 250 built 1888 in Tubbs Rd., Harlesden. New chapel for 450 built 1901. Attendance 1903: 96 a.m.; 134 p.m. Closed 1963. (fn. 34)
Hamilton hall, High Rd. Willesden Green reg. for Wes. Meths. 1889-1902. (fn. 35)
Primitive Meth. chapel opened in High Rd., Willesden Green by 1897. Attendance 1903: 96 a.m.; 144 p.m. Rebuilt 1904. Closed 1963. (fn. 36)
Primitive Meth. chapel built 1897 at corner of Harrow Rd. and Victor Rd., College Pk. Attendance 1903: 80 a.m.; 130 p.m. Closed 1958. (fn. 37)
Trinity Wes. chapel built 1899 at corner of Walm Lane and Dartmouth Rd., Cricklewood. Large brick and stone bldg. by W. D. Church & Son with tower and steeple. Attendance 1903: 125 a.m.; 256 p.m. Closed 1948. (fn. 38)
Metropolitan Rly. Mission hall opened in Neasden Lane by Wes. by 1890. Attendance 1903: 40 a.m.; 73 p.m. Closed by 1933.
Primitive Meth. Metropolitan Rly. Mission hall opened in Dog Lane, Neasden by 1903 when attendance 25 a.m.; 31 p.m. Closed by 1933. (fn. 39)
United Meths. reg. rooms at 7 Stafford Rd., Kilburn, 1929-35. (fn. 40)
For Welsh Calvinistic Meth. chapel in Willesden Lane, see below, Presbyterians.
Baptists. (fn. 41)
Stock brick chapel with stone dressings in classical style with pedimented front and round-headed windows built 1865 for 550 in Canterbury Rd., West Kilburn. Attendance 1903: 47 a.m.; 140 p.m. Had 68 members 1977-8. (fn. 42)
Congregation, formed at Willesden Green after open-air mission by Spurgeon's students 1881, met in cottage, stable, and shop until chapel built 1884 at corner of High Rd. and Huddlestone Rd. Membership 1889: 120. Chapel enlarged 1892 to seat 300. Attendance 1903: 235 a.m.; 223 p.m. Old chapel, named Huddlestone hall, used for Sunday sch. after new red-brick chapel with stone dressings in Gothic style with spire, built 1907 by Messrs. J. Wills & Sons to seat 800. Membership 1924: 450. Doctrinal controversy led to split and formation of Willesden Christian Fellowship (see below). Membership 1977-8: 151. (fn. 43)
Particular Bapt. chapel in red brick and stone, consisting of baptistery, nave, aisles, short transept, tower, and spire, built 1890 for 860 in Acton Lane, Harlesden. (fn. 44) Attendance 1903: 133 a.m.; 321 p.m. Membership 1977-8: 81.
Kensal Rise tabernacle opened for 900 in Chamberlayne Wood Rd. by 1894. (fn. 45) Attendance 1903: 184 a.m.; 422 p.m. Membership 1977-8: 74.
Bapt. mission room opened 1899 in Chaplin Rd., Willesden Green. Attendance 1903: 15 a.m.; 18 p.m. Closed by 1926. (fn. 46)
Old Bapt. Union opened hall 1899 at the Green, Willesden. Closed and members transferred to other chapels 1901. (fn. 47)
Harlesden Evangelical mission hall seating 300 opened 1905 in Leghorn Rd. by Acton Lane chapel. Recertificated as Bapt. chapel 1933. Membership 1977-8: 31. (fn. 48)
Strict Bapts. met at 18 Manor Terrace, Harrow Rd., Kensal Green by 1908. (fn. 49)
Bapt. mission room in Disraeli Rd., Lower Place opened by 1908. Closed after 1933. (fn. 50)
Red-brick and stone chapel with tower accommodating 450 built 1908 by Arthur Keen to seat 450 in Anson Rd., Cricklewood. Dalsey hall built next to it 1930. (fn. 51) Membership 1977-8: 57.
Bapts. from Marylebone opened Streatley hall 1908 in Streatley Rd., Brondesbury. United with Kilburn Vale, Hampstead chapel after 1925. (fn. 52)
Willesden Presb. church opened 1875 in hall seating 150 at Fortune Gate, Harlesden. St. Margaret's, a cruciform chapel in Gothic style built 1876 at junction of Nicoll Rd. and Craven Park Rd. and enlarged 1884 to seat 645. Galleries added 1894. Attendance 1903: 294 a.m.; 378 p.m. Name changed to St. Margaret United Reformed church 1959 and St. Margaret and St. George United Reformed and Moravian church 1974. Membership 1963-4: 90. (fn. 55)
St. George's church, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, and transepts built 1888 in Early English style to seat 550 in Willesden Lane, Brondesbury. Attendance 1903: 140 a.m.; 190 p.m. Closed 1973 and congregation united with that of St. Margaret's (above). (fn. 56) Bldg. used for Hindu temple.
St. John's Wood Presb. church opened Pembroke mission hall c. 1880 in Granville (formerly Pembroke) Rd., Kilburn. Attendance 1903: 33 a.m.; 170 p.m. Closed by 1959. (fn. 57)
St. Margaret's built mission hall 1888 in Oak Rd., Harlesden. Enlarged 1894. Attendance 1903: 84 a.m.; 150 p.m. Closed by 1954. (fn. 58)
St. Andrew's church, Salusbury Rd., West Kilburn, built 1896 to seat 300. Attendance 1903: 59 a.m.; 128 p.m. Used as hall when new redbrick and stone chapel built in Gothic style next to it 1911. (fn. 59) Membership 1963-4: 142. (fn. 60)
Chapel at no. 265 Willesden Lane, called Welsh Meth. or Presb. Church of Wales, reg. 1900 for worship to Welsh Calvinistic Meths. (fn. 61) Attendance 1903: 32 a.m.; 71 p.m.
Mission room opened by 1894 in Strode Rd., Willesden Green. Closed by 1933. (fn. 64)
Barracks opened in Percy Rd., Kilburn 1889. Attendance 1903: 81 a.m.; 283 p.m. Closed by 1971. (fn. 65)
Wendover hall in Wendover Rd., Harlesden reg. 1893. Attendance 1903: 57 a.m.; 184 p.m. Closed 1903 and citadel opened 1904 in Manor Park Rd. (fn. 66)
Barracks reg. 1901 at Hiley Rd., Kensal Rise. Attendance 1903: 35 a.m.; 62 p.m. Moved 1908 to Alexandra hall, Doyle Gdns. Closed 1913. (fn. 67)
Citadel opened in High Rd., Willesden Green, by 1902. (fn. 68) Attendance 1903: 93 a.m.; 239 p.m.
Goodwill Centre reg. 1971 in Chichester Rd., Kilburn. (fn. 69)
Kilburn hall opened for Evangelical Mission by 1880 in High Rd., Kilburn, near Willesden border. Closed 1913. (fn. 70)
Evangelical Mission opened Willesden hall 1893 for 500 at junction of Aldershot Rd. and Willesden Lane, Kilburn. Attendance 1903: 50 a.m.; 186 p.m. Bombed 1944 and prefabricated bldg. seating 150 erected 1947. Name changed to Kilburn Evangelical Free church 1954. New bldg. seating 200 opened 1962. (fn. 71)
Willesden Evangelical church opened 1896 in iron bldg. in Church Rd. Attendance 1903: 133 a.m.; 177 p.m. Closed by 1978. (fn. 72)
Kilburn Protestant and Evangelical sch. and mission opened by 1885 and reg. at nos. 78-86 Kilburn Park Rd. 1900. Attendance 1903: 45 p.m. Closed 1913. (fn. 73) City Mission hall opened in Kilburn Park Rd. by 1890. (fn. 74)
London City Mission in Stonebridge Park by 1903 when attendance 5 a.m.; 27 p.m. Evangelical mission hall at no. 9 Melville Rd. by 1908. Mission hall built at junction of Melville and Harrow roads 1913. Replaced 1972 by new chapel seating 120 in Hillside. (fn. 77)
Shrewsbury gospel hall opened in Shrewsbury Rd., Stonebridge by 1901. Attendance 1903: 112 a.m.; 142 p.m. Replaced 1971 by hall in Winchelsea Rd., Harlesden. (fn. 80)
Hamilton hall, Willesden Green, attendance 1903: 26 a.m.; 53 p.m. (fn. 81)
Open Brethren reg. Kings hall, Harlesden Rd., 1907-54. (fn. 82)
Mission room opened at no. 10A Rucklidge Ave., Harlesden by 1915. Closed and new meeting room opened 1937 at no. 28A Fortune Gate Rd., Craven Park. Closed 1977. (fn. 83)
Plymouth Brethren reg. Belton hall, Willesden Green, 1925-32. (fn. 84)
Other Denominations And Unspecified Missions.
The Reformed Episcopal Church erected Christ Church 1884, an iron bldg. seating 200, in St. Albans Rd., Harlesden. Used as Sunday sch. and hall when red-brick church seating 650 built beside it 1893-4. (fn. 85) Attendance 1903: 152 a.m.; 221 p.m.
The Swedenborgian Church of the New Jerusalem built 1889 to seat 120 in High Rd., Willesden Green. Attendance 1903: 43 a.m.; 43 p.m. Replaced by small brick chapel 1910. (fn. 86)
A Friends meeting ho. opened 1900 in Harlesden Rd. Attendance 1903: 43 a.m.; 45 p.m. Enlarged 1910. Closed 1953. (fn. 87)
Seventh Day Adventists opened mission room by 1909 in no. 38A Harley Rd., Harlesden. Closed and replaced 1917 by hall in Wendover Rd. Closed 1925. (fn. 88)
Willesden Christian Fellowship, house in Donnington hall, Donnington Rd., founded as breakaway from Willesden Green Bapt. chapel (q.v.) before 1932.
The People's Own Mission opened by 1933 in iron tabernacle in Church Path, Harlesden. Reg. by Brotherhood Movement 1953. (fn. 89)
Christian Spiritualists met by 1934 in room in Hassop Rd., Cricklewood. Housed by 1963 in Ashford hall, Ashford Rd. (fn. 90)
Christian Scientists met 1936-54 in rooms at no. 92 Walm Lane, Cricklewood. (fn. 91)
'Free Christians' reg. the Fifth church of the Good Shepherd 1951 at no. 5, Bramshill Rd., Harlesden. Recertificated 1954 as church of St. John the Divine for the New Catholic and Free Church. Closed by 1964. (fn. 92)
The New Testament Church of God opened 1964 in former Meth. chapel at no. 179 High Rd., Willesden Green. (fn. 93)
The Apostolic Church of God opened Beulah church by 1964 in Denton Rd., Stonebridge Pk. Closed 1978. (fn. 94)
The Jehovah's Witnesses opened a Kingdom hall by 1967 at nos. 192-212 High Rd., Willesden. (fn. 95)
The Church of the God of Prophecy opened in former Meth. (q.v.) chapel 1967 in Tubbs Rd., Harlesden. (fn. 96)
The Associated Gospel Assembly opened 1971 in former Roundwood mission in Longstone Ave., Harlesden. (fn. 97)
The Medical mission hall opened for undenominational worship by 1897 in Heron Rd., Church End. Attendance 1903: 82 a.m.; 68 p.m. Closed by 1926. (fn. 98)
Oxford mission hall, Oxford Rd., Kilburn, opened for undenominational worship by 1903 when attendance 2 a.m.; 100 p.m. Closed by 1917. (fn. 99)
The United Christian Society opened by 1916 Providence hall, Hampton Rd., Kilburn Park. Closed by 1942. (fn. 100)
Willesden Revival centre opened 1964 in no. 334 High Rd., Willesden. Changed name to Willesden Deeper Life Christian centre 1973. (fn. 101)
Railway mission by 1902 at no. 152 High St., Harlesden. Attendance 1903: 64 a.m.; 83 p.m. Closed by 1908. (fn. 102)
Willesden Junction Railway mission opened by 1903 in Harrow Rd., next to Scrubbs Lane, when attendance 51 a.m.; 39 p.m. Closed by 1926. (fn. 103)
Other undenominational missions were St. James, Manor Park Rd., Harlesden, open by 1890 and closed by 1903; (fn. 104) Croft at the Croft, Harlesden, open by 1908, closed by 1933; Claremont Rd. hall at Midland Brent Terrace, Queen's Park, flourished 1917-18; (fn. 105) Harley Rd., Harlesden, flourished in former Seventh Day Adventist hall (q.v.) 1926 and reg. 1943; (fn. 106) Roundwood at Longstone Ave., Harlesden, 1930-71. (fn. 107)