In 1788 Edward and John Henley of Barton heard John Wesley preach in Exeter and were inspired to introduce Methodist preaching in Torquay, at first in a room in George Street and then at Edward and Mary's home in Swan Street. In 1807 two cottages in Fleet Street became known as 'the Chapel in the Meadow', replaced in 1853 by a chapel in Rock Road, with a schoolroom added in 1858. In the 1870s a site was acquired in Union Street for a larger church and schoolroom; the latter was opened in 1878 and the former in 1879. Following a disastrous fire in 1926 the Union Street church was rebuilt and reopened in 1928.

In the 1850s the Primitive Methodists began to meet in a chapel in Temperance Street which they had bought from the Baptists. It was replaced by a chapel opened early in 1878 in Market Street. By the 1970s deteriorations in this building and problems with the heating system led to a decision to close and join with the former Wesleyans in Union Street and the URC (formerly Congregational) Belgrave Church, in Tor Hill Road (repaired after being damaged during World War II), and to become a single ecumenical congregation. Union Street church was sold to developers and the present Central Church was built on the Belgrave site, opened in 1976.

  • Central Church, Torquay (1976)
  • Lorna Ruse Smith, The Pilgrim Way, A brief history of Central Church, Torquay (nd)

Category: Place
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