Webpage created: July 19, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 19, 2017
OLD GEORGE STREET BAPTIST CHAPEL
During the Blitz of Plymouth in March 1941 the George Street Baptist Chapel was severely damaged. Once the Second World War was over and reconstruction began, hopes were entertained that the Chapel would be rebuilt on the same site but the City Council had other plans.
A new site was found, at the lower end of one of Plymouth's oldest thoroughfares, Catherine Street. Many stones recovered from the George Street Chapel were used in the new building. At a ceremony on Saturday November 2nd 1957, Lady Astor laid one as the Foundation Stone and the Chapel's secretary, Mr John Cottrell, laid the other as a Remembrance Stone.
Conceived by the then Minister, the Reverend H D Hilliard, the building was designed by Messrs Louis de Soissons, Peacock, Hodges, Robertson and Frazer. The contractors were Messrs A N Coles (Contractors) Ltd, of Plymouth.
The new Chapel was linked to the hall and class-rooms by a garden courtyard, formed with cobblestones to preserve a link with the former barbican and the Pilgrim Fathers. Although the congregation numbered only 100 there were seats - and foam-covered ones at that - for 500. The internal walls were of grey plaster panels relieved with buff-coloured brick piers. The window arrangement had been designed to restrict the interference from the sun during services, with the southern wall having no windows at all and the western wall having only small ones. The Baptistery was tiled in blue and set into the floor of the chancel. The communion table, pulpit and pews were made of lime oak.
An organ was provided by Messrs Hele & Company Ltd, who had supplied the one in the old George Street Chapel.
Others involved in the construction were Messrs Smith & Bowl, quantity surveyors; R T James & Partners, structural engineers; Messrs Ellmore & Company Ltd, joinery, seating and pulpit; and Messrs Colmore Electrical Ltd, electrical installation.
On the afternoon of Saturday November 29th 1958 the new Chapel was officially opened with a ceremony of dedication being performed by the Reverend W F Grey, a former Minister at Mutley Baptist Chapel. After tea, which was attended by the Lord Mayor, Alderman and Mrs G J Wingett, (there is no mention of them having attended the ceremony), a new Minister, the Reverend D H Pasco, was inducted.
A thin spire was added to the Chapel in 1959 and in 1960 a mural by Hans Feibusch, a refugee German Jew, of the baptism of Christ was unveiled and dedicated.
In 1982 it was renamed the Catherine Street Baptist Chapel, severing the 137-years-old connection to the famous old George Street Baptist Chapel.