Kensington Temple, London – Origin:
One hundred and fifty years ago a group of men and women, members of Kensington’s Congregational church in Hornton Street, began to pray for the “poor and neglected people of Notting Hill Vale”, according to the church secretary’s minute-book.
Dr Kenneth Taylor, of Living Bible fame, on a visit to London was asked, “What part of London would you expect Jesus to visit first if He were to return to Britain today?” “Notting Hill Gate,” he replied.
“Why?” asked the interviewer. “ Well, that’s where all the world seems to meet. I’ve never seen so many different classes or nationalities in one area in all my world travels”.
But Notting Hill was not forgotten by the “members of Kensington’s Hornton Street Congregational church” who, according to one newspaper report of that time, “had been deeply moved at a recent prayer meeting and many had wept as they commissioned thirty-seven people who were to pioneer the new work in Notting Hill”. In the notes made by these pioneering Christian men of Hornton Street we read that they, with typical English reserve, wrote that “additional religious accommodation was desirable” in Notting Hill. But they not only prayed, they put their hands in their pockets. One individual gave £1,000. That was followed by £700 from the congregation.
With this money they proceeded to buy a plot of ground on the corner site of the two roads we now call Ladbroke Grove and Kensington park Road. It cost £630 (probably worth millions of pounds today). On 30 august 1848 a foundation stone was laid, and a year later the completed building named Horbury Chapel was opened. It was so named after the village of Horbury in Yorkshire, birthplace of the Congregational Church’s first church treasurer.