Skinner, Reuben Frederick (1890-1963)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

REUBEN FREDERICK SKINNER: born in Peterborough in 1890. After a year as a hired local preacher in the Leintwardine Circuit of the Primitive Methodist Chureh he entered Hartley College in 1914, and then served as Army Chaplain during the First World War. Thereafter he served in the following circuits: Aldershot, Nigeria, Grantham, S.E. London Mission, and Central London Mission. 

During his ten years service in Nigeria he was stationed at Hube, Ovim and Adadia. At Grantham in 1929, faced with industrial depression, he organised an Occupation Centre for the unemployed, renovated the churches in his care, and revitalised the life of the Circuit. His twenty-one years in the London Mission at Surrey Chapel and Camden Town were the crowning years of a heroic ministry. 

The war years found him with unflinching courage and selfless devotion caring for those who sought refuge in the deep shelter at Camden Town. He was indeed a shepherd of the flock and his flock was a great multitude. His generous self-giving exacted a severe toll on his physical strength. No one heard him complain, nor did he lessen his activities. He never refused a call for help. When war was over he tackled the tasks of reconstruction with undiminished enthusiasm. 

As a hospital and prison chaplain for many years he is gratefully remembered by hundreds as a man of great comfort and infinite patience with even the most difficult and helpless. He befriended those at the edge of despair, and despaired of none. His faith was essentially simple and unaffected. His preaching was tender, compassionate and always encouraging. 

In his retirement in Hove he faced increasing physical weakness with great grace and fortitude. He died at Hove on the 22 March 1963, at the age of seventy-three in the forty-seventh year of his ministry.


Reuben was born on 31 August 1890 at Peterborough, Northamptonshire, to parents Henry M Skinner, a loco engine driver (1891), and Maria Croft.

He married Elsie Catherine Colyer (1988-1963) in late 1921 in the Romford Registration District, Essex.

Reuben died on 22 March 1963 at Hove. Sussex.


  • Hartley
  • 1917 Mission Committee
  • 1918 Aldershot
  • 1919 Nigeria WA
  • 1929 Grantham
  • 1935 London Mission SE
  • 1939 London Mission Central
  • 1956 Hove (S) 


Methodist Minutes 1963/202

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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