History

There has been a Methodist Church on the same site at Clapham since 1874, when a magnificent Victorian church, seating 1,000 people was opened. By then, Clapham had grown out of its village appearance as the Stage Coach had been running a regular route into and out of central London, along the old Roman Road which approached through Balham and continued along Clapham Road to Stockwell and Kennington. The part of that route, which is now Clapham High Street, had seen new houses being built, which were not the palatial residences of the famous statesmen and businessmen but the large and spacious residences of the wealthier classes. Mr Hind was a Methodist and Methodist meetings were held in his home. He sold the property to the Wesleyans and preaching commenced in the drawing room whilst a School Chapel was in course of erection at the rear’.

The Wesleyan Church had a steeple to match the one at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, just a few hundred yards away next to the Common and Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who lived in Nightingale Lane and regularly travelled through Clapham High Street in his horse drawn coach on his way to the Metropolitan Tabernacle at the Elephant and Castle, preached at the Opening and Dedication service.In the late nineteenth century, although there were still wealthy residents of Clapham, Nelson’s Row (where the church had its side entrance) and White’s Square became notorious slums and were shown on Charles Booth’s poverty map in the grade of ‘very poor’. So, ‘all human life was here’, from leaders of business and commerce and those who worked in the City and the West End Theatres to those who had no work at all.