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Metropolitan Wesleyan Chapel Building Fund

The Fund was the brainchild of William Arthur, launched in 1861 as a WM response to the rapid growth of London and the situation revealed by the Religious Census of 1851, in which London recorded the lowest overall rate of attendance anywhere in the country. Arthur and Francis Lycett were appointed treasurers; W. Morley Punshon and Edward Corderoy secretaries. Its threefold purpose was 'to promote the erection of commodious chapels in suitable situations in and around the metropolis, to assist in the enlargement of existing chapels... and to secure eligible sites, especially in the new localities'. This was seen as 'indispensably necessary to the stability and permanence of the work of God'. The Fund played a major part in almost doubling the number of WM chapels in London by the end of the century. Lycett himself gave 1,000 towards each of 50 chapels. By 1914 grants totalling 301,241 had been made towards 190 new chapels, including 117,000 towards the new Leysian Mission premises. But the percentage of the population (3.3%) which London Methodism could accommodate still fell far short of the 11.9% average in England and Wales as a whole.


  • James H. Rigg, Wesleyan Methodist Reminiscences Sixty Years Ago (1904) pp.149-51
  • London Mission Report (1985)

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Subject

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