Southend on Sea Connexional Home of Rest, Essex

Primitive Methodist Home of Rest
Postcard in the collection of Rev Steven Wild
The 'Home of Rest' pictured in October 2016
Tim Banks

Transcription of Article in the Christian Messenger by W. Watson

The opening of the Connexional Home of Rest at Southend-on-Sea, is an event which will be of interest to all Primitive Methodists. Unfortunately large numbers of our people will have no opportunity of seeing it for themselves, and our purpose is to attempt a description of the building and its surroundings, which may, however inadequately, supply the lack of such opportunity, and at the same time give a brief account of the origin and purpose of the Home.

The establishment of the Home of Rest as one of the agencies of the Clapton Mission dates from the Easter of 1893. Experience gained from benevolent work among the poor in East London, had made it clear that many cases could only be dealt with successfully in some such way. Many respectable, but poor people were met with, toiling on day after day with failing strength and hopeless outlook, or suffering from the effects of illness, utterly unable to obtain that rest and change which alone would prevent a physical breakdown, or restore them to health. With characteristic large-heartedness the Rev. Thomas Jackson, superintendent of the mission, took a furnished house in the Cromer Road, Southend-on-Sea, on his own responsibility, and opened it, primarily to assist such cases as have been referred to, though ordinary visitors were also accommodated at moderate charges, any profits accruing therefrom, being added to the funds from which those received free, or for a merely nominal sum, were provided for. Encouraged by the success of this tentative venture, Rayleigh House, on the Marine Parade, a much more commodious building, was leased for three years and furnished, the furniture, for which £250 was paid, being assigned to the General Missionary Committee. This house served a two-fold purpose not only making an excellent home, but also providing a large preaching-room, in which the society, formed subsequently to the establishment of the first home, could meet and worship in comfort. This small society developed into what is now the Southend Station. It includes a fine church in the town, another at Shoeburyness, a preaching-room at Southchurch, and a freehold and debtless site of land at Leigh for a chapel and school. Had there been no Home of Rest, there would probably have been no Southend Mission.

The lease of Rayleigh House, unfortunately, could not be renewed, and a much smaller house had to be taken in the Southchurch Avenue, where the work was carried on up to March 25th of the present year. Notwithstanding its limited accommodation, very satisfactory results were obtained. A recent report shows that in the course of the year over 200 people had been assisted and entertained, representing seven different denominations and twenty Primitive Methodist Circuits. This, however, was only a temporary arrangement. A splendid site of land fronting the Marine Parade had been purchased, providing ample space for a home, church and school. Three months later the site could have been sold at a profit of £1,000. Part of the ground was occupied by an iron preaching-room until the church could be built. By September, 1900, arrangements had been so far completed that the memorial stones of the New Home could be laid, and on Easter Monday last, the opening ceremony was performed by Mrs. Jackson, a lady not only respected as the wife of a leading East End philanthropist, but also loved by those who know her, because of her many amiable qualities.

Seen from the road, the appearance of the Home is very imposing, and one gentleman stated that its position was the best on the sea-front. The design, material, and workmanship re?ect much credit on the Rev. W. Wray, the architect, and Mr. Green, of Leigh, the builder. Two spacious shops in front will make excellent business premises, the rent of which will form a substantial addition to the funds of the Institution. At the rear is a carefully laid-out garden, and a large and comfortably furnished summer house. The main entrance is from the Pleasant Road, and on the left of the noble doorway the principal memorial stone, inscribed with the name of the founder and superintendent, has been inserted.

If the exterior is prepossessing, the interior is certainly not less so. There are altogether about forty rooms arranged in three stories, including the entrance hall, dining-room, reception room, matron’s sitting-room, kitchen and servants’ quarters, sixteen bedrooms, three separate bath rooms, four large box rooms, etc., the drawing-room over the shops, and a commodious sitting-room above. Any improvement in the internal arrangements would seem to be impossible. The servants’ quarters are roomy and convenient, there is a fine wide staircase, the bedrooms are of varied sizes, all well-lighted and comfortably furnished, and the sanitary fittings are of the most modern and approved pattern. Both dining-room and drawing-room are adorned with an artistic ornamental ceiling, and beautiful stained glass windows, the seven illustrations of marine subjects inserted in the windows of the latter being most effective and appropriate. This splendid room is also provided with a handsome piano, and the furniture selected by Mr. L.L. Morse, of Swindon, is of the best quality and thoroughly up-to-date. From the large windows, or the balcony, a wide and unobstructed view may be obtained of the adjacent beach, the greater part of the pier, and the wide channel, bounded on the further side by the dim outline of the Kentish coast.

Visitors will find that the neighbourhood is full of attractions. Southend itself possesses a healthy climate and is very picturesquely situated. Its pier is one of the longest in Europe. The east and west esplanade, with the Marine Parade between, form a walk along the shore of more than two miles. The cliffs to the west, of the town are being made very pleasant, and the view from the top, along which another lengthy parade has been constructed, includes shipping scenery almost unequalled along the coast. The beach is very suitable for bathing, and there is an ample supply of boats and yachts. A new Park is being opened up near the home, and during the season entertainments of varied character are provided. The Marine Parade is always full of life and movement. Behind the town lies one of the prettiest corners of Essex, and numerous walks and drives to places of interest can be arranged. On Sundays, Primitive Methodists have a beautiful chapel close at hand, while visitors of other churches will be easily suited in the town.

The management of the new home will be entrusted to a thoroughly competent matron, assisted by an efficient staff of servants. Mrs. Puleston will enter upon her duties with the advantage of seven years’ experience of such work in the temporary homes, and may be relied upon to do all that is necessary for the comfort and welfare of the visitors. The general affairs of the home will be superintended by Mr. Jackson himself. Under his supervision nothing will be overlooked likely to contribute to the high character and usefulness of the institution. His intention is to make it, not a mere boarding-house, but a home in the truest sense of the word; a distinctly Christian home in which persons may receive, as was stated at the opening, not merely physical, but spiritual blessings as well.

The total cost of the undertaking, including freehold, furnishing, etc., has been £3,500. Up to the present only £700 has been raised, leaving a debt of £2,800. Until this is removed, it will very seriously affect the usefulness of the home, seeing that the rent of the shops, and other sources of income will be required to pay the interest instead of being used to assist those for whose special benefit the home exists. It is Mr. ]ackson’s anxious desire that, as soon as possible, the whole of its resources should be set free, to be devoted to this purpose, and when we remember that he and Mrs. Jackson have already contributed one hundred guineas we must admit that they have done more than anyone could reasonably expect for the realisation of that desire. We believe that it is still Mr. ]ackson’s intention to attempt the extinction of the debt during the year, and we may be pardoned for expressing the hope that in this effort he will have that enthusiastic and liberal support to which his great services to Primitive Methodism and to the poor of East London entitle him.


Christian Messenger 1901/176

Comments about this page

  • O.S. Map, year 1921-2 :

    To view location of Meth.Ch. (Prim.) on Pleasant Road and the Home of Rest lower down, corner of Marine Parade, go via above Link then enlarge, another Home of Rest further up from Pleasant Road is on Hartington Place.

    Kind regards, Ray & Marie.

    By Raymond E. O. Ella ( Æ ). (16/06/2022)
  • Essex Record Office :
    ref. D/NM 4/6/9, amongst Southend Methodist Circuit records : Pleasant Road, Primitive Methodist Church,* schedule and deeds 1884-1915, received by the Primitive Methodist Chapel Aid Association Ltd., from trustees of Southend on Sea Primitive Methodist Church and School. *a short distance from the Home of Rest.

    ref. D/BC 1/4/12/669, Plan of temporary iron mission room for use of the Primitive Methodists, Reverend Thomas Jackson, Southend marine parade, 1896-7.

    ref. D/BC 1/4/12/1634, Primitive Methodist Home of Rest, corner Marine Parade and Pleasant Road, Revd. T. Jackson of Clapton, planning submitted to Southend Borough Council, 1898-9.

    Other documents pertaining to the Home of Rest.

    Oxford History Centre, ref. NM 2, Southend Primitive Methodist Circuit, roll book, year 1900.

    Metropolitan Archives, City of London :
    ref. ACC/1926/E/001, Advertisement for Primitive Methodist Home of Rest, Marine Parade, Southend on Sea ( on reverse side : for June 1901 session, Working Lad’s Institute ).

    Homes of Rest, to include Southend White Chapel Methodist Mission.
    ref. ACC/1926/E/, Free holydays who could not afford to pay, for Primitive Methodists, applicants from other churches. Documents 1901-1932, then up to c.1954.

    Other documents.

    Kind regards, Ray & Marie.

    By Raymond E. O. Ella ( Æ ). (16/06/2022)
  • The September 1900 Primitive Methodist magazine (page 716) records the laying of foundation stones on 7th August. It was planned to hold 40 visitors and expected to cost £3,000

    By Christopher Hill (28/11/2021)
  • The Primitive Methodist magazine of September 1896 reports that a site had been acquired for the Home of Rest with chapel and school buildings. A “friend” had loaned £700, interest free, towards the anticipated cost of £5,000, but as Southend was growing so rapidly, the mission was essential. Rev Jackson was the man in charge.

    By Christopher Hill (06/07/2021)
  • Thanks to Steve Wild for the old postcard of the Primitive Methodist Home of Rest, which has been added to this page.

    By Jill Barber (20/03/2019)
  • This page was modified on 24 October 2016 to add a current picture of the ‘Home of Rest’ taken by Tim Banks.

    By Geoff Dickinson (24/10/2016)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.