History of Norbury Methodist Church

The initial decision to try and build a Methodist Church in Norbury took place in March 1902 when a committee was set up at the Brixton Hill Circuit Quarterly Meeting to obtain some land in Norbury. They aquired some land for £1,250 and the Deed of Conveyance of Land was signed on 1st May 1903. It was not until the 12th July 1904 that the stone laying took place and completed by October that year. The shape of the Chuch was octagonal to enable the maximum number of worshippers within the space allowed, which was the original shape devised by John Wesley for Methodist Churches.

To build all the buildings cost £13,000. The school buildings were opened on the 1st October 1904 and the Lecture Hall was opended for public worship on ther 2nd November the same year, but the Church building was not opened until Wednesday 11th October 1905. When the Church opened, Norbury was still sparsely populated and all of its residents could have fitted in the Church.

Outside view of Church in 1954

This is how the church looked in 1954 at the time of its Golden Jubiliee and before the redevelopment into its current form.

Inside view of Church in 1954

This is what the inside of the original church looked like in 1954.

The orginal organ has been removed and the current organ came from a closed church in West Norwood.

The opening service due seven hundred and fifty people and the evening service due a similar number of worshipers.

The original organ was a small one-manual organ which had six stop and no pedals and was also hand-blown. It was initally used in the School Hall, but later moved to the Church. This organ lasted until 1922 when it was dismantled and sent to Malta. There was also a period when a band assisted with the music, but only one Sunday a month.

It was decided to get a pipe organ and the Trustees in 1918 approved the raising of £1,000 to purchase a new organ. It was erected as a memorial to those who had fallen in the 1914-1918 First World War. There were some delays and it was not finally set up until January 1922. This organ was removed and replaced by an organ from a closed church in West Norwood.

During the Second World War changes were made to the services and meeting at the church. The evening service was moved to the afternoon and the morning service was moved to 10.30am.

The then Croydon Borough Council in 1941 took over some of the church premises to use as a Rest Centre, only the church itself, the minister's and choir vestries, the club room and the caretaker's flat was left for use by the church. The church was narrowly missed by a flying bomb on the 24th June 1944 which fell opposite the church in Pollards Hill North and it destroyed several houses. The church did receive considerable, but not vital damage in the explosion. The repairs only took several weeks and no services could be held in the church during this time. The Borough Librarian did allow the use of the Norbury Library Hall for services during the repairs to the church.

The first minister was the Rev Thomas Hugh Barret and he served Norbury form 1904 to 1909. Him and his wife arrived in Norbury on the 1st September 1904 and were complete strangers to the area. The current ministers are Reverend Andrew Letby and Deacon Belinda Letby.

 

List of Ministers at Norbury Methodist Church
1904 - 1909
Thomas H Barratt, B.A.
1909 - 1914
Eric S Waterhouse, M.A. D.D.
1914 - 1918
Walter J Morgan
1918 - 1921
E L Ley Peake
1921 - 1924
Ernest F Drew
1924 - 1927
Francis B James
1927 - 1930
Howard N Burton
1930 - 1933
W G Thornal Baker
1933 - 1938
J Passmore Braithwaite
1938 - 1941
R Francis Trevithick
1941 - 1945
Harold Garside
1945 - 1951
D R Evans, M.A.
1951 - 1961
Leonard Constantine, M.A.
1961 - 1971
1971 - 1981
1981 - 1991
1991 - 2001
2001 - 2011
Hazel Ratcliffe
2011 - 2016
Eleanor Jackson
2016 - 2017
Peter Clarke
2017 -
Andrew and Belinda Letby