Brethren Archive

Bennett Park

Blackheath and surrounding areas

Bennett Park, a road of mid-Victorian terraces.
The old meeting room occupied the spot where the block of flats now are. I believe F.E. Race lived in the first house to the right of the room.


Bennett Park, right in the heart of Blackheath Village, was built at the same time (1860's) as Alexandra Hall which stood on its corner.

"There was one oddity on the south side of the road. Between Nos 16 and 18 a plot was leased to the Plymouth Brethren for a meeting house, and this was errected in 1871. In 1920 the Brethren had gone." Blackheath Village & Environs, Neil Rhind.

The brethren with Mr Kelly had moved here from the Alexandra Hall, to a room which could seat 500 people. Something that was needed to fulfil the requirements of Mr Kelly's lectures. This meeting became a centre of controversey with the Park Street division of 1881. In 1920 the Brethren moved to a room on Granville Park. After this the room was used by Christian Scientists, and then Jehova's Witnesses before itburnt down in suspicious circumstances in 1958. Afterwards a mundane and ugly block of flats was built on the spot.

F.E. Race, the publisher, lived on this road, and it was here he composed the tune that he named after the road 'Bennett Park', still used in the Spiritual Songs hymn book. I believe he lived in the house next to the meeting room, though I have lost the source for this; that would have been 8 Bennett Park at the time, though now renumbered.

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