Chester House

Chester House, in Muswell Hill, north London, was opened in 1960 to provide a hostel for young people coming to study or work in London and also to accommodate the expanding work of the Methodist Youth Department (later the Division of Education and Youth). It was constructed on land donated to the Methodist Church by H. Guylee Chester and the building was funded through a connexional appeal to youth and children's groups to raise 'one million half crowns'. Chester House now forms part of the North Bank Estate along with approximately ten acres of grounds which also incorporate an MHA residential home and sheltered housing, the local Muswell Hill Methodist Church and tennis courts, as well as one of the largest private gardens in north London and an area of woodland. The North Bank Estate is administered by connexionally-appointed trustees.

When the connexional headquarters offices were consolidated in Marylebone Road in the late 1990s, part of the space vacated was developed into a retreat and training facility; the remainder was used to expand the Halls of Residence which now provide a home for up to 130 young people of as many as 30 different nationalities. Now known as 'The Guy Chester Centre', activities also currently include quiet days and a range of courses for Methodists and others, particularly those involved in the exploration of discipleship and vocation in lay or ordained ministry. In addition the Centre provides facilities for external counselling organisations and training rooms for Christian and other voluntary and public sector groups.

Jonathan Kerry