Ruislip: Protestant nonconformity

Pages 145-146

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.

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In the late 17th century at least two Ruislip tradesmen were attending Quaker meetings in Uxbridge. (fn. 1) There were said to be three Presbyterians and about as many Methodists in Ruislip in 1766. (fn. 2) Methodists were said to be decreasing in number in 1778, but there were still about ten Presbyterians in the parish. (fn. 3) A return of 1810 stating that there were no dissenters in the parish (fn. 4) was inaccurate to the extent that Dr. Adam Clarke (1762-1832), an eminent Methodist theologian, had taken up residence at Hayden Hall in 1805. (fn. 5) There was no meeting-house for dissenters in 1816, (fn. 6) but during the 1820s several houses were licensed for nonconformist worship. A house in Ruislip was certified for public worship on behalf of the Wesleyans in 1823. (fn. 7) Premises in Eastcote were licensed for Baptist worship in 1825, and a house in Ruislip on behalf of the Independents in the following year. Another house in Ruislip was licensed on behalf of the Calvinistic Particular Baptists in 1832. (fn. 8)

The early 19th century was also marked by increased Methodist activity. A Methodist congregation at Eastcote, formed about 1825 by Dr. Clarke, met in the house now called 'Sunnyside' until his death in 1832. In 1848 the first Methodist chapel, seating about 100 people, was built opposite the present chapel in Pamela Gardens. This served the Eastcote congregation until the new chapel, the building of which had been delayed by the Second World War, was substantially completed. The chapel was occupied in 1950 and building work finished in 1962. (fn. 9) A building in Bury Street opposite the present Reservoir Road, said to have been licensed for nonconformist worship about 1854, and possibly originally licensed in 1850, (fn. 10) was taken over for Methodist use in 1882. It became known as Ruislip Common Chapel. (fn. 11) In Northwood Primitive Methodists met in a house called 'Elthorne' in the modern High Street from about 1896. In that year a school chapel to accommodate 250 people was built on the corner of High Street and Hallowell Road. The present church next to the school chapel was completed in 1903. It was further extended in 1910, and a new vestry added in 1927. Enemy action caused considerable damage to the building in 1944. (fn. 12) From 1905 a group of about 20 Wesleyan Methodists worshipped in a house in Chester Road. Two years later a temporary corrugated iron church was erected in Hallowell Road. After the construction of a permanent building in Oaklands Gate in 1924, the temporary structure was transferred there for use as a church hall. A new hall and classrooms costing £22,500 were completed in 1962. After the Methodist Union in 1932 these two churches became known as the High Street and Oaklands Gate Methodist churches. (fn. 13) Other Methodist churches were opened in Ickenham Road (1923), Torrington Road (1937), and Queen's Walk, South Ruislip (1951). (fn. 14)

The Ruislip Baptist church, a member of the Baptist Union, was formed in 1937, and a temporary wooden building in West Way, accommodating 150 people, was opened in the same year. This was replaced in 1954 by a permanent church seating 250. (fn. 15) The Northwood Hills Congregational church was formed in 1955. Until 1958, when the church in Joel Street was completed, services were held in schools and halls. (fn. 16) St. John's Presbyterian church, Northwood, was founded in 1905. The congregation met in a 'tin' church until 1914, when the present building in Hallowell Road was opened. From 1914 to 1918 the church was used as a hospital. (fn. 17)

A gospel assembly, founded in 1925, met in a teagarden called 'the Poplars' and later in a dance-hall in Ruislip High Street. A hall called the West Way Hall was erected in 1935. (fn. 18) A similar assembly was formed at Northwood in 1948. Its members met in the Darby and Joan hut in Pinner Road, which they hired from the local authority. A temporary hall in Windsor Close was opened in 1951, and replaced by a permanent building in 1961. (fn. 19) From 1954 members of the Lutheran church met in the South Ruislip Community Centre, and in 1955 a group of 22 communicants founded the Lutheran church of St. Andrew under a resident minister. The congregation continued to meet in the South Ruislip Community centre until 1960 when a permanent church was erected at the junction of Whitby Road and Queen's Walk. (fn. 20) Jehovah's Witnesses registered the Kingdom Hall in Victoria Road in 1941. (fn. 21)


  • 1. Trust deed penes Uxbridge meeting.
  • 2. Guildhall MS. 9558.
  • 3. Ibid. 9557.
  • 4. Ibid. 9558.
  • 5. L. D. Jarvis, Free Church Hist. of Uxbridge, 62.
  • 6. Brewer, Beauties of Eng. and Wales, x(5), 583.
  • 7. Gen. Reg. Off., Dissenters' Places of Wship. 1689- 1852: Dioc. of Lond. cert. of 14 June 1823; cf. Guildhall MS. 9580/5.
  • 8. Gen. Reg. Off., Dissenters' Places of Wship. 1689- 1852: Dioc. of Lond. certs. of 30 July 1825, 18 Dec. 1826, 8 June 1832.
  • 9. Ex inf. the minister.
  • 10. Gen. Reg. Off., Rets. of QS. for Mdx., ret. of 6 Dec. 1850; cf. M.R.O., A Register of the Places of Meeting of Protestants.
  • 11. Methodist Dir. Harrow Circuit (1962).
  • 12. Ex inf. the Trust Secretary; Jubilee Souvenir Bookle (1946).
  • 13. Ex inf. the minister.
  • 14. Methodist Dir. (1962).
  • 15. Ex inf. the minister; 21st Anniversary Booklet (1958).
  • 16. Ex inf. the minister.
  • 17. Ex inf. the minister.
  • 18. Ex inf. the secretary.
  • 19. Ex inf. the secretary.
  • 20. Ex inf. the minister; British Lutheran, Oct. 1960; Ruislip-Northwood Gazette, 1 Apr. 1955, 19 Nov. 1959.
  • 21. Gen. Reg. Off., Wship. Reg. 59953.