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John Wesley preached in the town for the first time in 1765. Encouraged by his visit to the area, a schoolmaster named Thomas Coleman, a native of St. Nicholas, moved down from London the following year and built a small schoolroom in Love Lane, using it also for preaching. Its location was in Meeting Court, an area then known as Puddle Dock. He also preached at Birchington and St. Nicholas. Disagreement between him and the Canterbury preachers caused the latter to take over the work in Margate and in 1785 they built a chapel in Hawley Square, which was opened by Wesley on 1 December 1785.

In 1810 Hawley Square chapel was found to be unsafe, land was bught to the east and the chapel rebuilt on a larger scale. Further enlarged in 1844 by the demolition of property in Princes Street, it was reopened by Dr. Robert Newton on 11 July. Further extensions, including new galleries, took place in1896. New churches were opened at Cliftonville in 1878 and at Buckingham Road in 1898.

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Updated: 6 June 2018

Born in Sweden, the son of a Lutheran minister on the island of Gotland, he responded in 1775 to the ‘call of the sea’ and sailed under the captain of an English timber ship who duped him into entering into a four-year apprenticeship. Finding himself in Portsmouth, he took the opportunity to become a rigger in the dockyard and eventually saved enough to buy a small boat and set himself up as a fisherman and waterman in Portsmouth harbour.

Soon afterwards a fellow dockyard worker invited him to go and hear the Methodist preaching and in 1787 he was converted under William Ashman and began to preach himself, chiefly to the farm labourers in the outlying villages. At one such village, where the work was being given up because of fierce opposition, he volunteered to go and his calm determination to stand his ground in the face of hostility led to an invitation to return, so that regular preaching was resumed.

His wife was a native of Portchester and had inherited property there. So in 1803 they came to live in the village and he began to hold meetings in their home. Growing numbers encouraged them to move into a hired room and eventually he built them a chapel in Castle Street in1818. It remained his private property until transferred, free of debt, to the first Methodist trust in 1826.

Marblestone was long remembered as’eminently a cheerful, happy and contented man’, grateful for the many blessings and deliverances of his life. He died on 17 Aprill 1839.

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Updated: 6 June 2018

Opened in 1858 in Grace’s Alley, East London, as part of the Old Mahogany Bar, the music hall became part of the East End Mission in February1888 under the pioneer minister Peter Thompson. It reached it peak in the 1930s under the leadership of the lay pastor G.F. Dempster, with many forms of social outreach, But heavy bombing of the area during World War II followed by slum clearance left it in a dilapidated state. It was sold to a rag merchant, but under the leadership of the conservationist John Betjeman was saved from demolition and bought in 1964 by the British Music Hall Society.

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Updated: 5 June 2018