History of the Church
A large house with gardens named ‘Utrecht House’ (built around 1850) stood on the site where the maisonettes now stand.
The owner, who had his business in London, travelled there each day from Abbey Wood Station. Due to the lack of transport, he had a Coach House and Stables built which was completed around 1862 and employed a groom and his family to look after the horses and stables. This family occupied the rooms above the stables as their living quarters, with the groom driving his master to and from the station and no doubt carrying out other duties about the place.
Due to the demise of several members of the family in fairly quick succession and the death duties amounting to quite a considerable sum, the remaining members of the family decided to dispose of the property and grounds; this was done in 1934/5. Mr T W P Lane, Mr H.H. Aldrich,together with other Trustees, purchased the Coach House and grounds as now seen, from Mr John Joseph Jacques. It was sold on the strict understanding that it was to be used as the Abbey Wood Spiritualist Crusaders Society with the purpose of advancement of Spiritual knowledge, the study of Mysticism, Occultism, and Spiritual Truth, all based on the eight principles of Spiritualism, namely :
1) The Fatherhood of God.
2) The Brotherhood of Man.
3) The Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels.
4) The continuous existence of the human Soul
5) Personal responsibility for all actions taken.
6) Compensation and retribution here or hereafter for all the good and evil deeds done on earth.
7) Eternal progress open to every human soul.
8) Leadership of Jesus Christ.
After the purchase of the premises, it was renovated with the ground floor set out as a Church and services of a Spiritualist nature commenced. The congregation became members of the Church when each paid 6 pence in old money (now 2 ½ pence) per week to purchase a brick. When enough money had been accrued, planning permission was sought and obtained for the church extension, which was built in 1951 at a cost of £1500. The original Church / Coach House then became, as now, the original foyer.
Many alterations and renovations have been carried out since 1934 and in 1993 the upper part of the Coach House (the Groom’s quarters) have been completely redecorated, new windows and floors were installed, fitted carpet laid to all rooms, and new curtains hung to all windows and the whole of the exterior of both Coach House and Church, painted and renovated.
The Committee, consisting of a President, 2
Vice Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Mediums Secretary, and six Members hold a meeting approximately every three months to ensure the smooth running of the Church and its activities.
Memories of the Church by Vera Parks.
Vera recalls that when she first attended the Church only half a dozen people came but since then she has seen the attendance grow and on a few occasions extra chairs being placed in the aisle. Vera remembers a medium who did table lifting and they sat around the table with their fingers on the top and it started to lift in the air, she then said in her mind “go higher” and it did.
The original founder members Mr & Mrs Lane lived at 50 Grosvenor Road when she was a child and Vera recalls walking down past the house with her mother and remarked “why does Mrs Lane always have a red light in her window” her mother replied “she believes in ghosts!”. In fact it was a Healing light.
Jean Woods was a medium and one of the early Presidents. On one occasion Vera was having a private reading with her and she clairvoyantly saw Mrs Lane standing by her. Vera later found out that the Lane family originally came from Windsor to Belvedere and they had rooms in the house she is still living in before moving to No. 50 Grosvenor Road. She senses that Mrs Lane looks at her Church through her eyes and feels very satisfied that with its progression since her passing. Different Presidents have left their mark on the Church and she is happy to say all for the best. When Vera first attended the Church a Mr Welch was President and Florrie a lovely lady who came from Woolwich always stood at the Church door on a Sunday and greeted people and handed the hymn books out to them. Bill was someone else I remember who used to buy spiritual books to read and then I would buy them off him to read myself.
We had meetings on a Thursday afternoon in the old church hall (the original church being in the area which is now the foyer) and I used to scribble my messages down and also for my friends. I then found that I could not leave other people out, so I wrote their messages down and continued to do so until recently when my arthritic hands will no longer allow me to now. My fingers often itch to write when I hear mediums giving such good evidence. Some names of mediums who I remember are:- Mrs Hodge, Mrs Fenwick, Mr & Mrs Maggs, Mrs Clark, Mrs Webb, Iris Ingafill, Pam Killick, Peter Bowley, Jack Warner, Olive Giles, Renee Orchard, Gladys Lee, Frank Dene, Barbara Barcock, Betty Bernard, Marjorie Carrolls.
Memories of the Church by Peter Capp
Peter first entered the Church in 1946 at the invitation of the then President Mr Lane. There were three Healers in attendance then, the President, “Big” Bill Woods and Mrs Shuttleworth. Mr Lane usually worked on his own, the other two had helpers. Mrs Shuttleworths’ helper was unfortunately unable to continue and I was asked to take her place, a big step for me being only 21 years old. As time went on I was given my own healing chair. To give us more room for healing, chairs had to be piled at one end of the church. The church at that time was in the foyer, there was no foyer and I cannot remember any toilets and very little heating. No tea making facilities and where the kitchen is now was the rostrum. Our Sunday services were well attended and there were other services such as Psychometry where those attending put personal items on a tray for the medium to choose from. This cost an extra sixpence (21/2 p) per person. I remember one gentleman who read the bumps on your head!.
There was often talk of a new church, one of the ideas of raising money for the new church was to hold bazaars which were quite successful.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the Church in 1953 because of family and work commitments, but I am happy to say I returned 10 years ago.