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Roberts Street Baptist Church.
Baptists Church, Robert Street, Lower Gornal
1874: Journal - The Builder, 16 May.
This is an imposing red-brick Baptist Church in Robert Street.
Miss Parker, of Gornal laid the foundation stone on 12th March, 1874
Capable of holding 500 persons, in addition, at the rear were schools for about 250 children.
This reputably replaced an old chapel in North Street, Lower Gornal, reported 'as unused' in 1895.
It was earlier called The Providence Chapel.
The Church is still in regular use.
The following account was published in Dudley Guardian - Saturday 14 March 1874 and outlines the history or the previous church and congregation.
Looking from the North
photo CDM 2019
Image courtesy of Mr Ian Beach, sedgleymanor.com
Photo CDM 2019
The foundation stone on the corner of the building was laid on Thursday, March 12th, 1874.
The following abridged account from the Dudley Guardian of 14 March 1874, outlines the history of the church and congregation up to that point.
LAYING A FOUNDATION STONE: The foundation stone of a Particular Baptist Chapel and schools, Jew’s Lane, Lower Gornal, was laid by Miss Parker, on Thursday afternoon, upon which occasion a large number of persons were present....
A bottle containing copies of The Times, Birmingham Daily Post, Birmingham Daily Gazette, and the Gospel Standard was then placed in a cavity under the stone, and Miss Parker having spread the mortar with a silver trowel....
....The origin of the church dates back to August, 1834, which then consisted of the following members: John Oakley, Ephraim Bennett, Joseph Marson, Mary Marson, Joseph Oakley, Hannah Bennett, Ellen Bennett, Sarah Bennett, and Susannah Bennett, all of whom formerly belonged to Ruiton Independent Chapel, and who left in consequence of Ephraim Bennett being expelled on account of some disagreement with the minister. They were baptised by Mr. Bridge at the Coppice chapel, and afterwards formed into a church, meeting in a room in Lower Gornal, where they were all occasionally supplied by ministers of the neighbourhood. They were soon obliged to take a larger room, In the year 1839 Mr. Burns first commenced his labours, which were so blessed that that room was quite inadequate for the number attending. This led to the purchase of a piece of land in Turner Street for the chapel, and was vested the names of the following trustees by deed dated December 21st, 1840: Theophilus Caddick, Thomas Underhill, Abel Oakley, Ephraim Bennett, Benjamin Wall, Edward Fellows, John Turner, Cornelius Flavell, Abel Burton, and Job Flavell. In the following year the old chapel was built and opened, Mr. Kershaw preaching ohe ocasion. The church and congregation have continued to worship there until the present time under the pastorate of Mr. Burns.
During the above period a Sabbath school has been opened, numbering, with teachers, 172, which, together with church of 42 members, and an increasing and attached congregation, has rendered for the last few years the above chapel quite insufficient in accommodation. The necessity of finding increased accommodation has seriously occupied the attention of the congregation, but on account of their poverty it was deferred from time to time....
Messrs. Bidlake and Fleming, architects, of Wolverhampton, were employed to prepare the plans, and in January last the contract for building was let to Mr. Nelson, of Dudley..... The size of the buildings will be 81 feet by 36 feet. The style will be plain Gothic, and will cost about £1,400 exclusive of site. Accommodation will be provided for about 400 persons in the chapel, and 200 children in the school-rooms. There will he a gallery all round the chapel with open seats on the ground floor.
1911: Birmingham Gazette & Express, April 15.
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