FAMOUS VICTORIAN CHURCH MEMBERS
In the 1860’s and 1870’s members of the church included:
J Hudson Taylor - later to found the China Inland Mission.
Lady Hannah Havelock and her family
- wife of General Sir Henry Havelock, a famous Victorian Baptist general in India and Burmah, and pioneer of modern army chaplaincy, whose statue stands in Trafalgar Square.
- Lady Havelock was also daughter of Dr Marshman, one of the three eminent Baptist missionaries and translators, Clark, Marshman and Ward, who founded both the Baptist mission/bible translation movement, and the first mission work in India, at the Serampore mission station.
Lady Havelock’s grave is in the nearby Kensal Green cemetery in Harrow Road.
[In 1824 Mr. Leslie, an Edinburgh student, who became in India the first of Baptist preachers, and was the means of the conversion of Henry Havelock who married Dr. Marshman’s youngest daughter, Hannah]
[William Carey <when he was dying, 1832> had other sources of saintly pleasure as he lay meditating on the Word, and praising God for His goodness to the college and the mission stations increased to nineteen by young Sir Henry Havelock, who founded the church at Agra]
John Clark Marshman - Dr Marshman’s son and subsequent leader of the Serampore mission, retired to Kensington Palace Gardens. He especially recognised the value of teaching about Jesus in a cultures own language and terminology, and ran a paper in Bengali which greatly benefited both the mission and the British administration. In 1860 he published a biography of the life of General Sir Henry Havelock after Havelock’s death following the relief of Lucknow. A first edition of the biography is available in the church history archive.
Sir Morton Peto - a Baptist building entrepreneur whose company rebuilt the Houses of Parliament and some of the railways, and who was the mainstay of the fundraising for the building of many late Victorian Baptist churches. It was said of him and Charles Spurgeon that they in a generation transformed the paucity of the architectural heritage of the Baptist churches.
William Garret Lewis, the pastor of Westbourne Grove Church, was older than Charles Spurgeon, and already well established as a London pastor when the hugely gifted young speaker first arrived in London at only 19 !!! to take on London’s largest Baptist church at New Park Street Chapel. So Lewis was amongst those who acted as supporters and mentors to the young man. Subsequently William Garrett Lewis and Charles Spurgeon were the main founders of the London Baptist Association. Garrett Lewis’ grave is in the nearby Kensal Green cemetery in Harrow Road.
Henry Varley, a self made butcher / meat merchant, who gave up his very successful business on Westbourne Grove and became an international evangelist, began his work while a member of the church. He built a 1000 seat free church in the very poor Notting Dale, knowing that the poor local residents would not be willing to attend the smarter churches up the hill at St Johns on Ladbroke Grove, or even Westbourne Grove Baptist Chapel. He is linked to Gypsy Smith, who is renowned for bringing the gospel to many gypsy families, through Gypsy Smith’s father having made his decision to follow Jesus at a mission held by Varley in Latimer Road.