Headington history: Non-listed buildings

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Headington Baptist Church

Headington Baptist Church, 1905
Postcard showing Headington Baptist Church, north of the cottage on the left, in about 1905

Early in the nineteenth century, Oxford’s New Road Baptist Chapel started one of its first “mission stations” for dissenters in Old Headington, and in 1836 opened Headington’s first purpose-built Baptist chapel, now known as Croft Hall. By the end of the century, however, the chapel in the Croft was evidently no longer big enough, and in 1901 the Baptists built a new chapel in Old High Street.

The tumbledown cottage to the south of the new chapel was declared unsafe and demolished in November 1916, and two years later the vacant plot was bought by the Baptist Chapel for £90. As most of the male members of the congregation were still away at war, women and children helped to clear the site for growing vegetables, as the picture below (which appeared in the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 15 May1918) shows. The site was to remain a vegetable plot for sixteen years.

Headington Baptist Church in 1918

In 1920 the church had a War Memorial Organ installed by Messrs Martin & Coate of Oxford, with a wooden plaque giving the dedication (photographs in Oxford Journal Illustrated of 2 June 1920).

The postcard below shows the interior of the 1901 chapel in 1927:
Baptist Church in 1927

In 1934 the chapel was extended for the first time (at a cost of £500) over part of the vegetable plot.
The rest of the plot was turned into a garden, as the picture below (taken in 1948) shows.

Baptist Church in 1934

In 1971 the garden was lost when the church was extended again, and the
new enlarged church was used for another 23 years until 2004.

Baptist Church in 2004
Above: the 1901 church in 2004, shortly before demolition

In 2003 planning permission was granted to build a very different church on the same site. The pictures below show (1) the old 1901 church and its accretions being demolished in August 2004 and (2) the new church on its first day in service on Sunday 5 November 2006.

Demolition of Headington Baptist Church

Headington Baptist Church, 5 November 2006

The second, third, and fourth pictures on this page are reproduced with kind permission of Headington Baptist Church

© Stephanie Jenkins

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