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Bloomsbury Institutions


Catholic Apostolic Congregation of Edward Irving

Also known as Irvingites


Charismatic Scottish-born preacher Edward Irving had come to London in 1821 to lead a congregation in Hatton Garden, but his popularity meant that a new church was purpose-built for him in Regent Square and opened in 1827

However, Irving’s preaching led him into trouble with the Scottish Presbyterian church and with its London branch when he published sermons and pamphlets preaching the sinful nature of Christ

This, together with his encouragement of an outbreak of ‘speaking in tongues’ among his congregation, led to his dismissal from his ministry and expulsion from Regent Square in May 1832

He took a large proportion of his congregation with him round the corner to nearby Gray’s Inn Road, where he shared the Royal London Bazaar, originally built as a horse bazaar and repository, with various other organisations, including Robert Owen’s co-operative lectures and meetings

The Times reported that Irving had “engaged large premises at the Horse Bazaar, Gray’s-inn-lane, where the new ‘spiritual manifestations’ are to be again displayed. He and Mr Owen will thus hold forth from the same place, and exhibit, perhaps, the strangest conjunction that ever design or accident produced. The former will give his ‘new readings’ of the Apocalypse, with occasional interludes on the ‘tongues’; and the other his ‘new view of society’, with a little fiddling and a sixpenny hop, ‘for the benefit of the working classes’ ” (The Times, 5 May 1832)

The congregation also met in Sidmouth Street

By the end of 1832 Irving had moved with his congregation out of Bloomsbury to Newman Street, west of Tottenham Court Road, where he continued to preach until his death in 1834

The Irvingites no longer exist

What was reforming about it?

The congregation was a breakaway Christian movement which caused controversy for its beliefs and its ‘speaking in tongues’

Where in Bloomsbury

It met during 1832 in the Royal London Bazaar in Gray’s Inn Road, and later also in Sidmouth Street

It moved out of Bloomsbury at the end of 1832

Website of current institution

It no longer exists

Books about it

None found


None found

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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