Seamen's Mission, London

The expansion of London's dock facilities downstream from the Pool of London began with West India Dock (1802) on the Isle of Dogs, London Docks (1805) and St. Catherine's Dock (1828). This changed the social composition of the area to one of increasing poverty. In 1843 a group of men associated with St. George's WM, Cable Street, formed the Wesleyan Methodist Seamen's Mission and in 1845 the Rev. Richard Chapman (d.1871; em.1839) was the first minister to be appointed to the Mission. Its first patron, appointed in 1856, was the Earl of Shaftesbury (1801-1885).

The Seamen's Mission was transferred to the London Mission in 1895 and the former Seamen's Mission premises were renamed Stepney Temple (replaced by Stepney Central Hall in 1907). Further premises added to the Mission included Brunswick WM, Limehouse, which had been built in 1832, the Queen Victoria Seamen's Rest opened in 1902 on the site of the former Magnet public house, the Emery Hall and Barking Road WM, Canning Town, both in 1907. Much of the expansion of the Mission was under the superintendency (from 1898 to 1920) of the Rev. David Roe. The Second World War saw considerable bomb damage to the Mission premises at a time when severe demands were being made on its work by the needs of merchant seamen. More extensive premises were opened in the East India Dock Road in 1953. The latest wing added to the premises with the support of the Royal British Legion enables the work to be extended to ex-military clients.

  • George Sails, At the Centre: the story of Methodism's Central Missions (1970) pp.99-101
  • 1843-1993, The Queen Victoria Seamen's Rest: the story of the Seamen's Mission of the Methodist Church (1993)
  • Methodist Recorder, 30 May 2014
  • Alexander Campbell and David A.N. Hurrell, Saving Jack (2018)

Category: Organisation
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