Brook Street Chapel

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A brief history of Brook Street Chapel in Tottenham, London, showing its founders and members as well as the history of the building.

A brief history of Brook Street Chapel in Tottenham, London, showing its founders and members as well as the history of the building.

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  • 1. The history of Brook Street Chapel, Tottenham
  • 2. Brook Street Chapel was built in 1839, when Tottenham was a wealthy suburb of London. Originally, the street was much longer than it now is, and the Chapel was smaller than the building today.
  • 3. John Eliot Howard
    The Christian assembly in Tottenham was formed a year earlier, in 1838, by the noted chemist John Eliot Howard and others. Many of them were Quakers who had studied the Bible together and felt it right to meet in complete accordance with the Word of God.
  • 4. John’s father, the meteorologist Luke Howard (famous for the cloud names that are commonly used all over the world today) also joined the Christians at Brook Street soon after. He lived and died at 7, Bruce Grove, commemorated by this blue plaque.
    Luke Howard, 1772-1864
  • 5. Philip (1810-1888) and Edmund (1849-1928)
    Emily Bowes (1806-1857)
    Another family involved in the assembly in the nineteenth century were the Gosses: the naturalist Philip Gosse; his son Edmund, the writer of Father and Son who taught in the Sunday School; and Philip’s wife Emily Bowes, a poet and painter from Hackney.
  • 6. John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)
    Dr Thomas Barnardo(1845-1905)
    James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)
    Other Christians associated with the Chapel at different times included Dr Thomas Barnardo, the founder of Barnardo’s children’s homes; Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission; and John Nelson Darby, the evangelist and Biblical scholar.
  • 7. The land to the side of the chapel is the burial ground for Brook Street Chapel, and full records were kept of all baptisms, members and deaths.
  • 8. During the nineteenth century, disagreements arose amongst Christians as to who could be allowed to take part in the meeting to remember the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Brook Street’s position, commemorated in the Tottenham Memorandum of 1849 which is displayed in the main hall, remains true today:
    “We find our centre of union with each other, and with all saints, in Christ, as one in Him, and our power of fellowship by the Holy Ghost. We therefore desire to receive to the Lord’s table those whom he has received.”
  • 9. The building has been extended twice to accommodate a growing work amongst children in Tottenham. In the early twentieth century, the size of the Sunday School (around 600) led to the Christians hiring a room on the other side of the high road for ordinary meetings, and using the Chapel solely for children’s meetings.
    Today, all meetings take place in this building: gospel services, all-age services, Sunday School and teaching meetings are in the main hall, facing the high road; the drop-in on Thursday morning takes place in the back room, shown here.
  • 10. The message of the good news of Christ that has always been preached at Brook Street Chapel is displayed on this carved table-top, featuring words from John’s gospel.
  • 11. The text above the platform in the main hall has been there – as far as we know – since the Chapel was built. It reads: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” The verse is from the book of Romans, chapter 10, verse 9.
  • 12. Brook Street Chapel, Tottenham, London N17 9JG
    11am – Lord’s Supper
    12:30pm – All-age service (first and third weeks of the month)
    12:30pm – Sunday School and Ladies’ Bible Study (all other weeks)
    6:30pm – Gospel Presentation (except first week of the month)
    8:15pm – Bible Teaching Meeting
    10:30-noon – drop-in
    For more information: