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The timeline and history of Wavertree Congregational Church has been reproduced from the booklet 'The story of Wavertree Congregational Church' written by 'Betty Shanks'

1836 - The Rev. Thomas Sleigh moved to Wavertree from Newcastle-under-Lyme where he had retired due to ill health. Mr. Sleigh was shocked at the state of spiritual destitution in Wavertree. He immediately opened his own house in Sandown Lane for church services and many people attended.

In October 1836 a large room was obtained and from its opening it was crowded.

1838 - Mr. Sleigh succeeded in securing the means to erect a chapel for the congregation he had gathered. With help from local businessmen of his day (including Mr. Hope - who later had a street named after him in Liverpool) he was able to lay the foundation stone on the 11th December 1838.

1839 - On the 1st October 1839 the chapel was completed and opened and was originally named 'Trinity Chapel, Hunters Lane'

1841 - On the 25th December 1841 a church was formed on Congregational principles and Mr. Sleigh was appointed as the first minister. He continued to grow the number in the congregation and by 1848 the church was freed from debt.

1848 - June of 1848 the Rev. Sleigh resigned and moved on to Bulford, Wiltshire to carry on his ministry. He later returned to Birkenhead where he died in 1862 aged 81 years of age.

After Rev. Sleigh's resignation an arrangement was made with the Rev. John Edwards, a Baptist Minister, to undertake the oversight of the church. In the 3 years of Rev. Edwards ministry a further 60 members were added to the church.

1849 - A Sunday School for children was formed, in 1850 for the anniversary of the Sunday School there were 127 children attending. In 1852 the Sunday School had a library for the children and it was recorded that it consisted of 400 books.

1852 - In June 1852 the next minister was appointed and this was the Rev. Ninian Wight from Aberdeen. During his ministry the building was greatly enlarged.

1858 - Rev Wight was moved on to Carlisle and that was followed by the short but happy ministry of Rev. W.C.Stallybrass who was the minister at Douglas Isle of Man.He came to Wavertree in 1858 but had to resign due to ill health in 1861.

1862 - A unanimous invitation was sent to the Rev. Edward Hassan of the New College, London. He accepted the invitation and entered his ministry on the 23rd February 1862.

In the 1860's and 70's much work was carried out at the church, due to a pressing need for increased accomodation for the congregation. Firstly a new front to the church increased its length, also galleries were put up. These improvements were completed in April 1868. Secondly, building a new organ chamber, new classrooms, vestry etc. Were ready for use by February 1873. Lastly

re-pewing of the entire area of the church and the raising of the ceiling by about 5 foot was finished in the September of 1875.

During the 1870's and 80's the Churches were better attended and the congregations included more people of wealth and importance than ever before. Wavertree was developing as a popular and fashionable suburb of Liverpool and during the hours of worship carriages of its well-to-do members stretched right down the Lane.

During Rev. Hassan's ministry the important mission of Wellington Road originated. In 1869 Mr. John Blyth gathered a Sunday School which met to begin with at his house. The school soon outgrew the accomodation and he took a cottage for the work, but this in turn was insufficient and another cottage added to it. Its increasing success prompted the proposal at the church AGM to erect a suitable building in Wellington Road. Nearly £1000 was promised there and then. The building was opened in October 1878. For a long time the church was responsible for the work of the mission. Owing to practical difficulties, Wellington Road mission was handed over to Liverpool City Mission.

1876 - The church was running 3 Sunday schools, Hunters Lane - Wellington Road - Mossley Vale. When Mossley Hill Church was built it was agreed to hand over the work at Mossley Vale to the Parish Church.

1877 - The organst resigned and was presented with an 'Illuminated Address' and purse for £100, which in those days was a princely sum.

1880 - The list of members was 130 at the AGM with the Sunday School a very healthy 150 children (with 17 teachers)

1881 - The church was closed for a short time to be decorated. It was agreed a scroll to be painted over the organ gallery it read 'Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God eternally' this has since been altered to read 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' (Matthew 11 verse 28) however it is not known the date of this alteration.

1884 - A Dorcas Society was established and in six months 136 garments had been made and sold at prices within the reach of the poorest people.

1886 - It was unanimously agreed at a Deacons meeting that the members of the congregation should join audibly in the saying of the 'Lord's Prayer'.

1887 - The Rev. Hassan completed 25 years of his ministry in Wavertree when he decided to move on to Salisbury

The Rev. S.Owen agreed to come to Wavertree as successor to Rev. Hassan. He formed a ladies visiting committee in connection to the church and also started a Bible Class. The number of members declined during the end of Rev. Hassan's and Rev. Owens ministries. Some of the leading members moved to other suburbs and new churches were being built nearer to the homes of those who travelled a distance.

1890 - In July 1890 the Sunday School treat was held in a field off Prince Alfred Road, in brilliant weather it was reported that 800 people were present.

1893 - March, Rev. S.Owen resigned to accept a call to Swansea.

1894 - The Rev. H.T.Spencer of Mansfield College, Oxford was ordained at Wavertree in October 1894.

1898 - Extensive repairs needed to be carried out to the church after a partial collapse of the roof and one wall. Solid bases for the columns in the gallery had to be made and tested for strength, repairs were made to the stonework outside and the roof was completely stripped and re-slated and damged plaster repaired.

1900 - The Rev. H.T.Spencer received and accepted a call to Forest Gate Church, London. In June a call sent to the Rev. C.P.Tinling was duly accepted. No important changes are recorded during the 7 years of Rev. Tinlings ministry.

1907 - The roll of members was around 180 and Rev. Tinlings ministry closed.

1908 - The Rev. H.J.Cubitt B.D accepted the role of minister and during the 9 years of his ministry there were many changes, difficulties and losses which affected the church. Members who had given long service were lost through death or removal; the neighbourhood was changing and of course the war years brought change to all churches. Nevertheless work went on and in some ways made progress.

1912 - The name of the church was requested to be changed by the Registrar General from 'Trinity Chapel' to 'Congregational Church'. The main reason given was that people locally knew the chapel as the Congregational Church.

1915 - The church roll stood at 229 though in 1912 with a membership of 215 the average attendance was just 24.

1917 - Rev. Cubitt's ministry ended when he moved on to enter the Presbyterian Church of England.

1918 - Rev. L.L.Mills came to Wavertree from Port Sunlight. Under his leadership the church made steady progress.

1919 - Electric lighting was installed into the church and the Memorial Tablet installed into the vestibule.

1920 - There were 307 recorded members.

1921 - The organ was renovated.

1924 - There were 440 recorded members.

1926 - Fire swept the church on the harvest festival morning due to an electical fault in the service main. Shortly after the fire Rev. MIlls resigned and the church secretary died suddenly.

1927 - Rev. Henry Donald, M.A who came from Dundee was appointed minister.

1933 - Rev. Donald was removed from Wavertree to become minister of Stamford Hill church, London in April 1933. The Rev. A.C.McDougall came to Wavertree as the new minister.

Throughout the 1930's there seemed to be much discussion about finance and it was noted that the church had a permanent overdraft.

1938 - It was decided to hold the first Gift Day

1939 - The plans to celebrate the Centenary of the opening of the Church, had to be curtailed due to the outbreak of the war.

1940 - Wellington Road Mission was sold to the Liverpool City Mission.

1941 - Considerable damage was done to the church buildings in air raids. Most organisations ceased to function, but pastoral work carried on. The manse was also damaged including roof and ceilings.

1942 - The church roof was re-slated and new roof trusses were fitted, due to dry rot.

1943 - The Bishop of Liverpool preached at Hunters Lane and later, a letter was received from him expressing his pleasure at the welcome he had received.

1945 - Start of the Girls Guildry, which still flourishes, though the title was changed to Girls Brigade in 1965.

1948 - Rev. McDougall resigned in January and the Rev. E.J.Jenkins was inducted in July.

1949 - It was proposed to buy a plot of land in Childwall Road for a new church building.

1952 - The manse in Victoria Park was sold and the old Wavertree Rectory was bought - the ground floor to be used as Church House for meetings etc. and the first floor as a flat for the minister.

1954 - The chalice and goblets were introduced on the Communion Table. They had been discovered on Church premises after having been in disuse for some 40 years. In August 1954 Rev. Jenkins left to go to Newport, Monmouthshire.

1955 - The Rev.F.O.Brown was inducted in February

1957 - Saw the opening of the Boys Brigade.

1958 - Repairs to the church building were essential. There was a lot of dry rot, the outside had to be re-pointed, and the inside was painted. Work was also necessary in the schoolroom.

1961 - Church House was sold and a house was bought in Menlove Avenue for use as the manse.

1966 - Work went on steadily in the various organisations and new work was started at each end of the age range. The schoolroom was used for babies and toddlers, and an over 60's club was formed. Also in 1966 the church was completely re-wired.

1967 - The church was re-decorated and re-carpeted.

1968 - More dry rot was treated and the paths were asphalted.

1971 - A big decision had to be taken. Were we going to join with the Presbyterians and become part of the United Reformed Church? Special meetings were held and much discussion took place, and when the vote was taken the required 75% was not obtained, so we stayed as a Congregational Church.

1972 - In November the church sustained a serious fire. The choir vestry, B.B.Room and the staircases were gutted and the flames spread to the roof timbers. Repair work took a considerable time. The organ had to be re-built, new staircases put in, re-plastering, re-glazing in places, painting, new carpets and a big clean up before the church re-opened in September 1974.

1973 - Wavertree joined the Congregational Federation.

1976 - Wavertree was host to the Congregational Federation Easter Youth Conference, 78 young people attended.

1977 - We celebrated the Queens Silver Jubilee by presenting Jubilee Crowns to all the children and young people of the church.

1978 - The Wellington Road Mission celebrated their Centenary, Rev. Brown represented Hunters Lane.

1979 - The Northern Area of the Congregational Federation held their AGM when approximately 200 people attended.

1980 - This was a special year, Rev. Brown was elected President of the Congregational Federation, at the May meetings in Bristol. It was also 25 years since Rev. Brown came to Wavertree. In October we held a special anniversary and social, when presentations were made to Rev.Brown and Mrs. Brown

1981 - An amplifying system was installed into church.

1983 - Alterations took place to the kitchen, a double sink was installed and new working surfaces were fitted.

1985 - Wavertree once again hosted the Congregational Federation Easter Youth Conference. when 110 young people attended. Rev. Brown resigned as from 30th September 1985.

1987 - The Rev. Gerald Hudson was ordained as the minister of Hunters Lane.

1994 - Rev. Hudson moves on and Hunters Lane is delighted to welcome Rev. John Arnold as their new minister.

1998 - Girls Brigade and Boys Brigade close at Wavertree and PILOTS a non-uniformed Christian based childrens group starts.

2009 - The Baby Willis organ is refurbished in memory of Cynthia Stroud.

2010 - New toilets are built in the porch and school room in Hunters Lane.

2011 - The 175 year anniversary of the church and the launch of the website.


Phone: 07494 906 105


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