From the Archives – “Discussing the propriety of erecting a new church”

Posted on September 18, 2012


Extract from a minute book recording the public meeting chaired by Revd James Baird, when it was resolved to form a committee and raise funds to construct a new church in Southgate.

A chance visit to the Local History Library and the help of Kate Rogers the archivist has uncovered some fascinating documents from the time of the consecration of Christ Church. Copies of these have been taken for the church archive which Dr Ronald Lo is collating, and together we hope to put on a display of the most interesting items before Christmas. There’s a blank copy of the original tender documents for the building of the church, a list of all those who paid a subscription to fund its construction, a copy of the service sheet for the laying of the foundation stone and a wonderfully wry account of the consecration service in a surviving copy of the Southgate Messenger from August 1862!

The first document we wanted to share with you is a four-page extract from a minute book (we’re not sure whose) recording a public meeting in April 1859 chaired by the Reverend James Baird, at which it was resolved to raise funds for a new church.

Thankfully Fr Peter and Dr Lo have,in their professional lives, become adept at deciphering the most unintelligible handwrriting and I am grateful to them for helping with the translation! Maybe some of our readers are descendents of the illustrious persons named therein!


A Public Meeting of the Inhabitants of Southgate was convened by the Incumbent and held in the Girls Schoolroom Southgate Green – on Thursday ?? April 14th 1859 at 7 o’clock to deliberate as to the propriety of erecting a new Church capable of accommodating all classes of the parishioners.  Due notice was given of the place and hour of the meeting, & of the purpose for which it was called, by a written notice affixed to the door of Weld Chapel – & also by personal information of the fact at the houses of the people of the village.

The Revd. James Baird (Incumbent) was in the Chair.  After a full statement had been given of the present condition of the district in reference to Church over accommodation & of the impracticability of enlarging Weld Chapel so as to supply the deficiency which existed in this respect  – & of the bad state of the Chapel in a sanitary point of view – it was moved by John George Esq :- Seconded by Edward White Esq : & resolved unanimously –

1.         That this meeting, feeling strongly the necessity of a new Church at Southgate, that all classes of the parishioners but especially the poor, may be properly accommodated with sittings, hereby pledge themselves to use their best endeavours for the furtherance of this object.

It was also moved by Joseph Thornton Esq – seconded by F. Edy-combe Esq : & resolved unanimously –

2.         That the sincerest & heartiest thanks of this meeting are hereby given to Mrs. Walker & Mr. John Walker, for their very handsome offer of a site for this purpose.

It was also proposed by Revd Chris Bradby – Seconded by Percival Bosnaquet Esq :- & resolved unanimously ;

3.         That the following gentlemen, with power to add to their number, be hereby appointed a Committee for promoting the building of the new Church. Vincent Figgins Esq : re: re: [?&]with Alderman Sidney as Chairman.

That an Executive Committee limited to five be appointed to act as Treasurer, with full powers to adopt all such steps for the furtherance & completion of this Church, & all arrangements connected therewith, as to them may seem expedient – re:  & that the following gentlemen are hereby appointed such Executive Committee – J. George Esq; re: [?&] with Revd. J. Baird as Chairman.

It was further moved by Rd. B. Smith Esq – Seconded by T. C. Sanders Esq: resolved unanimously.

4.         That the Revd. J. Baird be requested to communicate officially the resolutions just passed to the trustees of “Weld Chapel”.

(This communication has been officially made)

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