Croydon Primitive Methodist Chapel, Surrey

51 Wandle Road Croydon CR0 1DF

Christian Messenger 1867
Croydon Laud Street Primitive Methodist chapel
Christian Messenger 1901/116; 1901/149
Croydon: first Primitive Methodist preaching place
Christian Messenger 1901/116; 1901/149
Croydon Primitive Methodist Chapel

Transcription of Article published in the Christian Messenger

CROYDON is an ancient market town and parish in the diocese of Canterbury, and situated 10 miles south of London; it is a town of considerable importance, having five railway stations and another in progress. The river Wandle, which falls into the Thames at Wandsworth, has its source near the parish church. In the year 1264, during the civil contentions between Henry III. and the barons, the Londoners, who fought for the latter, were defeated with great slaughter here. The ancient palace, near the east end of the parish church, was for many centuries the residence of the Lords Primate; and in July, 1753, archbishop Parker entertained queen Elizabeth here for seven days. “The Old Palace” is now occupied as a bleaching establishment, and the chapel, once attached to it, is converted into an industrial school. 

The principal business part of this town is one main street of about a mile and a quarter in length, and contains a number of large handsome shops, and many respectable private dwellings. The outskirts of the town and the neighbourhood in general contain many splendid piles of buildings, elegant seats and villas, belonging to gentlemen, merchants, opulent tradesmen and others. The population of Croydon is between 40,000 and 50,000. This town boasts of a commodious public hall and rooms, erected for literary and scientific purposes; a Hospital of the Holy Trinity for thirty-nine poor people; the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution for Freemasons or their widows; and several almshouses. The parish church, containing the splendid tombs of several archbishops, has been recently destroyed by fire, but is about to be rebuilt. Beside the parish church, there are several other churches in the town; there are also five Congregational Chapels, three Baptists, and one Wesleyan, one Methodist Free Church, one Presbyterian, and a Roman Catholic.

Some years ago a few Primitive Methodists, from different parts, came to reside in Croydon, and were anxious for our people to mission the place, and about the year 1848, the preachers from London first circuit came here. After preaching some time in the open-air, a small chapel was engaged, and a society formed. For sometime their labours were attended with considerable success, even in the face of much opposition; but from some cause or other there was a declension, and the cause remained in a feeble state for a number of years, the want of a suitable place of worship making against its progress. 

In 1861 a piece of land was purchased tor £120, and given by a friend to the connexion. On a part of this land a temporary wooden chapel was built at a cost of about £50. In 1865 preparations were made for the erection of our present chapel, schoolroom, and minister’s house. The chapel is 48 ft. by 32 in the clear, and 20 ft. from floor to ceiling. It will seat 250 people, and is well lighted with 4 star burners, suspended from the ceiling, and 2 branch burners on the platform. There is a good vestry; and underneath the chapel there are excellent school and class-rooms, etc. The building is neat, comfortable, and substantial. 

The total cost of the undertaking, including land and incidental expenses is about £1,500, towards which we have raised by various means about £580, including the noble sum given to pay for the land. When the chapel was commenced, the society numbered 34 members; now we have over 70. The congregation has greatly increased, the sittings let well, our prospects are very encouraging and steps are being taken to erect a chapel in another part of the town.

While we are grateful to the giver of all good, we also tender our warmest thanks to all the friends who have helped us in our heavy undertaking.



Christian Messenger 1867/353 

Comments about this page

  • The former Laud Street Primitive Methodist chapel is the Probation office at the junction of Wandle Road and Laud Street (Street View 2018).

    The Christian Messenger (Christian Messenger  1901/116; 1901/149) tells us that Laud Street became the head of Croydon Circuit and the centre from which missions were established in all directions.

    By Christopher Hill (30/09/2020)
  • I’ve added a later picture of the Laud Street chapel and one of the small chapel that preceded it, together with a location map.

    By Christopher Hill (25/07/2020)
  • Thank you both for your insight and articles. I can see how the name of the road is likely to be “Wandle” and Googling the address for the structure at 51 Wandle Road is nice to see. So to Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Thornborow, thank you for your historical knowledge and willingness to share information on Dennis Kendall, the Primitive Methodist Church and the Wandle Road location.

    By David W. Houghtaling (04/02/2020)
  • A more recent account of Primitive Methodism in Croydon may be found in the article: Jeremy N. Morris, “The Origins and Growth of Primitive Methodism in East Surrey,” Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society 48.5 (May 1992): 133-149. Available at

    By Philip Thornborow (20/01/2020)
  • David’s comment is interesting as it illustrates the whole question of naming chapels. The chapel in Croydon was known as “Laud Street”, but evidence from OS maps shows that it was built on the corner of Laud Street and Wandle Road, and the picture from The Christian Messenger of 1867 shows that the entrance was actually on Wandle Road. In the same year, the Registrar General published a list of all chapels registered for public worship, and one of the two Primitive Methodist chapels in Croydon was registered as being in Wandle Road (the other was in Cherry Orchard Road). David’s great, great grandparents’ certificate should, therefore, read “Primitive Methodist Wandle Road, Croydon in the County of Surrey”. The building still exists, as 51 Wandle Road, Croydon, but is no longer a Methodist Church. There is a photograph of the chapel taken in 1984 on British Methodist Buildings

    By Philip Thornborow (20/01/2020)
  • David,
    You may be interested to read this history of the Croydon Circuit. Rev. Dennis Kendall was in Croydon from 1873. However I have not been able to identify a chapel at Chandler or Handler Road.

    By Geoff Dickinson (15/01/2020)
  • I have a wedding certificate from March 18th, 1875 for my great, great grandparents and it seems to show “Primitive Methodist Handler Road, Croydon in the County of Surrey.” The minister officiating was Dennis Kendall.

    Do you know if I have the right place, if it is Handler or perhaps Chandler Road, and then, is it still standing?

    By David W Houghtaling (15/01/2020)

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