Our History

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Our History

In October 2014 Southgate (The Bourne) Methodist Church was joined by the members of Oakwood Methodist Church, which had closed in September that year. To mark this new beginnig the combined church reverted to its original name of Southgate Methodist Church.

This church, on the corner of Queen Elizabeth’s Drive, had became known locally as ‘The Bourne’ because of the frequent confusion with New Southgate Methodist Church, which closed in 1974, and is now a Sikh temple.  On many occasions visiting preachers had mistaken one for the other and had arrived at Southgate hot and breathless and complaining about the similarity in names.

Like many other Methodist Churches it started with a group of devout people meeting in a cottage. In January 1885 a group of Methodists gathered for a Class Meeting in a small cottage, and this is the first record of Methodism in Southgate. It was only a small place in Myrtle Terrace, Chelmsford Road, and the accommodation was soon too small. A move was made to Chase Side where a vacant baker’s shop, about 50 yards west of the present police station, was taken. A Sunday School was started on the first floor.

The church grew and the shop then became too small. It was decided to erect a marquee on a meadow just above the police station and services were held in both the shop and the marquee. This became inconvenient and arrangements were made to hire the iron building behind the Congregational Church in Chase Side. Later on when the Congregational friends built their new chapel (which later became the Baptist Chapel and was pulled down in 1937), the Methodists took over the Iron Chapel and worshipped there for two years. It was, however, in bad condition and the leaders realised that it was time to have a permanent home.

In 1890 a site was purchased in Chase Side, and the church was opened in September 1891. With the passing of the years, Southgate began to feel the impact of the outward movement of London population and in 1923 plans began for purchasing a new site. In 1927 the plot at the corner of Queen Elizabeth's Drive was obtained. The stone laying took place in April 1929 the church opened in October of the same year.

Over the next few years the Sunday School expanded and was using every part of the premise and the need was great. A new Sunday School block, including a restful Quiet Room, was opened in October 1937. When more space was required for the Sunday School of over 300 pupils, the Augustine/Luther building was built in 1953 on the site of the original 1920s School Room. 

In the major refurbishment of 1993 the fixed pews were replaced by comfortable chairs and a new Welcome Area was created inside the entrance of the church to greet visitors. The dark open passageway between the Church and the School Rooms was also filled in to create valuable additional usable space, which became The Link. 

Improvements continue to be made to improve accessibility and use by both the congregation and the large number of community groups who use our premises every week.  

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Page last updated: 9th November 2019 11:00 PM