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Lombard Street General Baptist

Aidan

master brummie
I'm looking for some info on the Lombard Street Chapel of the General Baptists. I have a couple of relatives (Families of Biddle and Sibley) that were baptised there in the 1830s. I believe it was on the junction with Moseley Street and fell out of use in 1886 but think the building was around until the 1960s. Any info on the church, parishioners or particularly any pics of the building greatly appreciated
 

Aidan

master brummie
Or does anyone know what the building was subsequently used for and on which corner it was? - I'm hoping it was one of those ornate red-brick structures.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aidan
The chapel is on the east side of lombard st, and i think it is the building inred, but the directories do not seem very clear as to whether it is on the corner or the next building along.
Mike

 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
Here's a bit of historica linfo on the church, Aidan:

Lombard Street chapel was built in 1785, (fn. 6) and repaired and enlarged in 1807. (fn. 7) In 1851 there were said to be 568, (fn. 8) and in 1892 800 sittings. (fn. 9) Lombard Street was the first chapel of the General Baptist New Connexion to be opened in Birmingham, after the congregation had met for twelve years in hired rooms in Park Street and Needless Alley. Until 1800 the Birmingham meeting formed part of a joint church, with one branch at Sutton Coldfield, and on separation retained a membership of only 33. By 1808 there were 105 members. (fn. 10) The Sunday evening congregation in 1851 was 275. (fn. 11) In 1889 a new chapel in Moseley Road, Highgate Park, was opened for the Lombard Street church and the old chapel is said to have closed, (fn. 12) but in 1892 a small congregation was still meeting in the old premises. (fn. 13) Daughter chapels were opened by Lombard Street members at High Street, King's Heath (1816) and Longmore Street (1866), q.v. George Cheatle, who became minister in 1809, served for 60 years. He was succeeded in 1872 by E. C. Pike, who, as secretary of the Birmingham Religious Education Society, helped to mould the policy of the School Board. (fn. 14)


From British History Online
 

Peter Walker

gone but not forgotten
Aidan
Funny thing, you wait four weeks for an answer and then three come along together! Like the last two writers, I felt thought I would look out what little I could find, and have come up with much the same. I certainly come to the same conclusion as Mikejee about the site location, which was certainly not on a corner. Having found out the age of the building, I looked up the 1838 SDUK map (attached) which shows that this was on the edge of building at that time. What is shown as an open way to Alcester Street was soon taken over and part used as a British School, which were spreading rapidly at this time. The excellent White's Directory of 1873 refers to the school, and also a Chapel keeper (British Schools were often run by chapels). It also lists the former brewery site on the other side of Alcester Street as held by the newly-formed Omnibus and Tramway Company (they didn't hold on to it for long).
More work is needed on what else went on around the chapel and how long the buildings lasted, but at least this is a start.
Peter
 

Aidan

master brummie
Well thanks to all three of you for the very useful information and kindness in taking the time out to scan the maps and lookup the references :love:

It does seem strange though that there is such a dearth of information or pictures available for such a important chapel in the big city, I guess that is the lot of non-conformity.
 

Shortie

master brummie
There might be more information in the Central Library. Birmingham was the centre of non-conformity, so there should be something, but don't hold your breath waiting for a photo, one just may not exist, which is sad, but it does happen. Your earlier posting about it being an ornate red structure surprised me a little - Baptists, like Methodists, liked everything plain and simple. During the mid-19th century when Gothic Revival was at its most powerful, the Methodists and Baptists still stuck to their very plain buildings, although I have seen a couple with a tiny bit of ornamental stone work here and there. I hope you find more information. Shortie
 

Peter Walker

gone but not forgotten
Aidan,
Looking back I think I should have said I didn't agree with the red spot Mikejee had put on his copy of the 1913 OS map as the location of the Lombard Street chapel. I believe the 'Meeting' shown on the 1838 map refers to the Baptist Chapel. The same site on the 1913 map is marked 'Chapel & Hall'.
I think I have found out something about the end of the chapel use, but not about the building. The chapel is still shown in street indexes in the 1875, 1879 and 1883 editions of Kelly's Directories, and the bland comment: “The General Baptists have a chapel in Lombard Street”. This was the only congregation in Birmingham calling itself ‘General Baptist’, by the way.
The 1890 directory does not mention the Lombard Street chapel or its site, but states the following: “The General Baptist Chapel in Moseley Road, Highgate, erected in 1888 – 89 at a cost of £4800, is a building in the Early English style, consisting of a chancel and clerestoried nave, and a tower with a spire. There are 700 sittings [seats].” The new location was a good one facing Highgate Park, with a good view towards Edgbaston and Birmingham, and a few minutes walk through Highgate Park from the old site. So you can be sure the old Chapel was prosperous enough to move to newer, bigger premises, to replace the century-old building.

So we are making progress,
Peter




 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Sorry Peter, I should have said acknowledged that my initial red spot was incorrect. Actually you can read “chapel “ on the same map I put on in the true position, but my initial look at it didn’t spot it as I was expecting it nearer the corner.
I have picked up a few extra snippets of information:
From Whites 1849 : The Baptist (general) chapel in Lombard St is a substantial brick building , erected in 1786, will seat 600 persons. Rev. George Cheatle, pastor
From Showell: The jubilee day of Rev. G.Cheatle’s pastorate ( I think they mean 50 years ) was Jan 11th 1860. It also states that “the Lombard Street Chapel was started Nov. 25, 1864”, but I am not sure exactly how that fits with what we know
M ike
 

Aidan

master brummie
Thanks Shortie - I'm sure you are right. I need to book a good wedge of time in the Central Library at some point!

Peter - Thanks for the update. Sure you are right too, peculiar shaped space though. I'm sure I saw somewhere that the Lombard Street site (building not congregation) was around until the 1960s (but as I can't find the ref I may be mistaken).

Mike - thanks again, it obviously was a substantial place, which is why I find it surprising there is so little on line for it. There are various refs suggesting it was opened in 1785 and there was a published sermon by John Jones 1793-1860 called "The Christian workman's expostulation with his companions in labour, on the essential importance of religion! an address to the operative class: delivered in the General Baptist chapel, Lombard Street, Birmingham, Sept. 7, 1828" (page 20 on the link) showing the early date and also perhaps the appeal to many Brummagem workers (or should I say Operative Class) of the time :angel:

In other snippets - The Baptist Times edition from 2009 has an interesting article mentioning Lombard St Chapel opening the Kings Heath & Moseley Chapel in 1811 which was contributed to by a Tolkien - so Lombard St seems powerful & populous
 

Robin Moore

New Member
The thread for Lombard Street Baptist church ends in 2010, but maybe some of those writing there are still interested.
There are (or were 15 years ago) Minutes of the church meetings for the period (I think) about 1870 to 1890 in the Central Library.
My Great Grandfather Rev. E.W.Cantrell was minister there from 1882. In 1889 the new chapel was built (0n Moseley Road?), called Highgate Park Baptist Church and Rev Cantrell and the congregation moved there. Rev Cantrell retired in 1900. The church buildings were sold in 1934 and the congregation (mostly) transferred to Hall Green Baptists. I have a number of cuttings, from my Grandmother's scrap book, of the doings of the church during Rev Cantrell's tenure. I have a photograph of the inside of the Highgate Park Chapel, But have no picture of the building, nor do I know what was its subsequent use nor when it was demolished.
Can anyone help?

Robin Moore
 

Richard McNeill

master brummie
The thread for Lombard Street Baptist church ends in 2010, but maybe some of those writing there are still interested.
There are (or were 15 years ago) Minutes of the church meetings for the period (I think) about 1870 to 1890 in the Central Library.
My Great Grandfather Rev. E.W.Cantrell was minister there from 1882. In 1889 the new chapel was built (0n Moseley Road?), called Highgate Park Baptist Church and Rev Cantrell and the congregation moved there. Rev Cantrell retired in 1900. The church buildings were sold in 1934 and the congregation (mostly) transferred to Hall Green Baptists. I have a number of cuttings, from my Grandmother's scrap book, of the doings of the church during Rev Cantrell's tenure. I have a photograph of the inside of the Highgate Park Chapel, But have no picture of the building, nor do I know what was its subsequent use nor when it was demolished.
Can anyone help?

Robin Moore
Can you share the photo you have of the inside of Highgate Park Chapel please :)?
 

Bish Bong

Midlander
I may have more info on where the Baptist Curch may have been in Lombard St.
I started work for a builder in 1955 & the offices &workshops of T Humphries & Sons hwere situated around where No 72A Lombard St is now, the site of an employment agency. There 77was a storage yard on the site for un- used building materials, etc, & around the boundary walls were many very old gravestones, which if my memory serves me right, we were not allowed to move. Things have changed there now, so somewhere may be info about the gravestones removal.
 
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