Leysian Mission, London

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Following proposals for religious and philanthropic work in London made to the Leysian Christian Union, the Leysian Mission was founded in 1886 and from then until the present former pupils of The Leys School have engaged in every aspect of its work. Its first premises were in Whitecross Street. The first resident lay worker was appointed in 1887, visiting the homes of the sick and poor and conducting a Mothers' Meeting with some 200 members. Activities included medical work, a working men's club, educational classes for boys, a large Sunday School and weeknight entertainments. The Mission moved to larger premises in Erroll Street in 1890, and again in 1904 to extensive premises (by J.J. Bradshaw) at the junction of Old Street and City Road.

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The move to the new premises in City Road led to a period of unease and tension, with the Wesley's Chapel leaders fearing a threat to the social outreach based on its Radnor Street centre. But with formidable support from outstanding figures in the connexion, the move went forward on a scale that the Chapel could not match. The sequel, bringing the two into a single organization, was delayed for almost a century.

A Commission appointed by the London Committee met in 1988 to consider the Mission's future and an amalgamation with Wesley's Chapel, City Road took place in 1989, bringing together two complementary traditions. Sale of the Leysian Mission premises enabled alterations to be made at Wesley's Chapel to accommodate the local and wider ministry. It also supports ministry among those experiencing deprivation in inner London and elsewhere, in keeping with the Mission's original purpose.

  • Methodist Recorder, 28 June 1900
  • George Sails, At the Centre: the story of Methodism's Central Missions (1970), pp.98-9
  • The Leysian Mission 1886-1986: A Century of Caring (1986)
  • George V. Thompson and Alan G. Watts, Leysian Mission Matters: a Centenary Plus Celebration (Barkingside, 1991)
  • Wesley's Chapel Leysian Mission Magazine, 20 (2008/2009)