Kirkup, Thomas
1866-1928; em 1887

Born at Urpeth, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, he trained for the ministry at Didsbury. Serving in several circuits, his considerable organisational capacity quickly became apparent: in 1910 he joined the Home Mission Department, becoming Secretary in 1920. Appointed Secretary of the Conference in 1922, he brought not only thorough administrative skills but a great capacity for personal relationships and spirituality. He won not only the trust, but love, both within the Wesleyan church as well as other Methodist churches and so more than laid the foundations for British Methodist Union of 1932. At his sudden, unexpected, death in 1928 he was eulogised as one of the greatest Secretaries the Conference ever had, and the central, perhaps indispensable, architect and builder of the forthcoming Union.


As Secretary of the Conference ‘he brought the passion for thoroughness and accuracy, the readiness for prolonged toil, the balanced judgment, the kindly sympathy, the intimate knowledge of connexional affairs which distinguished all his work and won him a place among the foremost of Conference Secretaries…. he was ever ready to prove himself the friend and helper of such as were overtaken by sorrow or adversity.’ Minutes of Conference, 1928.

‘To him all eyes were turning for the special help, which in these days of active preparation for Union his many gifts, his wide knowledge, and his sterling character so eminently, qualified him to render.’ Methodist Recorder, 10 May 1928.

‘In prospect of Methodist Union Thomas Kirkup seemed to some of us pre-eminently the man to work out both in theory and practice the new order and to insure the smoothness of its working.’ J.Scott Lidgett in Methodist Times, 10 May 1928.

Entry written by: PSF
Category: Person
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