The postcard shows a number of views of St George’s Hall and the work of the South East London Mission. You can read a little more about Primitive Methodism in London on this page, which is a description by Rev Joseph Johnson in the Handbook of the 89th Annual Primitive Methodist Conference held in London in 1908 – including the statement that “In Bermondsey we are represented by St George’s Hall, Old Kent Road and Union Chapel, Rotherhithe, the character of the population here being such that churches can only be worked successfully on mission lines.” I wonder what that meant.
There is a note in the 1896 Primitive Methodist magazine that it had been decided to secure the site for the Southwark Mission in Old Kent Road. It would be a lot of money to raise – around £5,500 – but was seen to be a significant development.
A further note sixteen months later says they are on the way to completing the fundraising, led by Rev J Flanaghan
There is a further mention in the May 1899 magazine of the work of Rev Flanaghan. He hoped that the £10,000 cost of the buildings would have been raised and the mission transferred from Trinity Street. The freehold would require a further £3,500 to be raised.
The December 1899 magazine tells us that the building is complete. The cost was £12,072 at that point, still without the freehold cost. Donors included the Missionary Committee (£1,000) and Mr Hartley (£250). The initiative was led by Mr Flanagan and Mr Gledhill, secretary to the trustees. “By the time the freehold is secured, we will have the costliest chapel in the Connexion situated in one of the most poverty stricken parishes in all England.”
The February 1900 magazine tells us the buildings were opened in the first week of January 1900. Much praise is showered on Rev Flanaghan who had travelled 35,000 miles and preach over 700 times to raise the funding. Generous funding had come from WP Hartley and T Robinson of Paisley. The editor was a bit wary of Primitive Methodism being labelled as “called into existence specially to deal with the slum population.”
The 1900 March magazine tells us that the whole £12,000 cost has been raised – “the most successful piece of chapel building work accomplished in the history of the Connexion.”
The Hall no longer exists
Primitive Methodist magazine September 1896 page 714
Primitive Methodist magazine January 1898 page 75
Primitive Methodist magazine May 1899 pages 395-396
Primitive Methodist magazine December 1899 page 951
Primitive Methodist magazine February 1900 page 157
Primitive Methodist magazine March 1900 page 237