Winton Forum


The church that disappeared

Once a symbol of working class aspiration and one of the the most prominent buildings in Charminster, the old Congregationalist Church is now no more than a memory.

Charminster Road United Reform Church
Soon after construction - 1910

Final days - 1982

At a time when huge efforts were being made to give a good education to ordinary people, local Congregationalists decided to build a church and "lecture hall" in Charminster.

They secured a plot of land on the corner of Charminster, Capstone, and Richmond Park Roads and the lecture hall was opened in 1901. Several additional class rooms were attached to it a year later.

The church itself followed in 1905, together with more class rooms.

By 1910, when the first pastor had moved on, a commentator was able to say "He found Charminster Road Church nine years ago a mere handful of Christian people, but leaves it a large strong and progressive community with all its departments in a healthy and growing condition".

Like many buildings in the 1940's it played a role in the war effort - in this case by serving as a canteen for allied servicemen.

A major change came in 1972 with the merger of the Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches to form the United Reform Church. In 1979 the church was merged with the one in Sutton Road and a couple of years later it was decided to sell of the Charminster Road building.

The last service was held in May 1982 and a year later the United Reform Church building was demolished to make way for the Richmond Court Business Centre.

Some said that one god had been pushed aside to make way for another.