Leatherhead has early associations with the Methodist Cause. On 23rd February, 1791, the Rev’d. John Wesley preached his last sermon under the Cedar tree at Kingston House which was once Leatherhead Town Hall but now is used for office space. *The Cedar tree is still there. His text – ‘Seek ye the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near’. On 2nd March, 1791, he passed away in City Road, London.

A Methodist Society was first established here about 1860 by Effingham Methodists, and was supplemented later by a large effort under the Rev John Mack from Sutton, when a Society of eleven members was formed and met in rooms in Bridge Street.

The entrance to the Victoria Hall can be seen in the picture above. It is between the two pillars that are covered with posters.

In the later picture on the right, the Victoria Hall had become the Leatherhead Theatre, with a canopy over its entrance

A period of decline set in until Mr. Stephen Mould came to the Town in 1885 and he re-established the Society in 1886, hired a hall in the High Street known as the Victoria Hall. The hall later became a cinema, and subsequently the home of the Leatherhead Theatre, before it moved to Church Street in 1969.

The Leatherhead Society became part of the Cobham and Woking circuit.

The Rev’d. Frederick Cunningham came over from Cobham as a Missioner. In 1887 a site was purchased in Church Road, and an iron building was erected. The Centenary of Wesley’s death in 1891 was commemorated by the visit of a number of prominent Methodists with a view to building a Church, which would be a worthy memorial to its Founder. A meeting addressed by Dr. Rough, Dr. W.F. Moulton, the Rev’d. Nehemiah Curnock and others, and presided over by Mr. Wm. Hedges was held in the Public Hall. The outcome of the scheme resulted in the building of the present Church at a cost, with site, of £2,000. The stone-laying took place on 21st June, 1893, and the church opened on 4th October 1893, in the ministry of Rev’d. Harry Hopkinson and Dr. Rigg who preached the first sermon.

In a few years the debt was cleared. The School Buildings were opened in 1905.

*In 1983 a tree was planted by Rev’d Ian Field in Kingston Hall Gardens to replace that Cedar tree.

The church was opened on its current site in 1893. You can see here the foundation laying day. Note the wooden scaffolding in use at the time.

First Harvest Festival

The very first Harvest festival, and the inscriptions and decoration on the front wall of the church. The front window at the left was eventually bricked up, because the halls were to be built behind it.

On the outside of the hall is a plaque with a relief head and shoulders of John Wesley. The original for this disappeared many years ago, and in the late ’60s we were able to get a replacement. It looks like a bronze, but is in fact made of fibreglass and resin. It commemorates the fact that Wesley preached his last sermon in Leatherhead.

Wesley Memorial
Exterrnal fence

By 1905, the building had the additional premises added, with an upper and lower hall, with extra rooms. The church had a side garden area, separated from the pavement by a trellis fence. This area was later converted to a car park.

Within a few years a huge pipe organ was installed, which embodied the pulpit between the sets of pipes, and the console below.

It ultimately became uneconomical to repair and was replaced for many years by a Compton organ, which itself was replaced by a Johannus electronic organ for 25 years, and more recently by a small Eminent organ which was given to the church in 2016.

In recent years, our worship has been band led. We have a variety of musicians who play a range of musical instruments. This allows us to play more contemporary music as well as the traditional forms.

Pipe organ

In 1993 we celebrated our centenary. We looked back at what had been achieved, but also looked forward to the future years and our mission.

Centenary congregation

In 2004 a significant project was undertaken to refurbish our church. We raised most of the money required by direct giving from the congregation.

The purpose was to enhance our worship space and give us the flexibility to be able to reconfigure the space for different types of worship. In doing so we decided to remove all of our pews and replace with chairs, replace the failing wooden floor, conceal all of the ugly pipes and wiring, and produce a more comfortable and welcoming environment.

Through significant hard work provided by both contractors and some of our own members, we transformed the worship space, and have reaped the benefit of this exercise over the ensuing years.

Below are some pictures showing the “before” and “after” views of this project.

Large central pews
The pews had dividing partitions
There were shorter side pews
We chose pastel coloured chairs
No more straight rows
We installed a screen and projector
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