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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


Kingsgate Baptist Chapel

Also known as Eagle Street Meeting House/Fisher Street Chapel, Red Lion Square/Baptist Church House/Kingsgate House


It was a Particular Baptist place of worship and social activity, and subsequently a General Baptist centre for the same

Its pastor from 1834 was Rev. R. W. Overbury (Baptist Magazine, vol. 26, 1834)

A new headquarters for the entire Baptist Union, Baptist Church House, including office, shop, and library, was designed by Arthur Keen in the eclectic Edwardian Free Baroque style, and built adjacent to the chapel in 1901–1903 in Southampton Row (Camden planning applications) (opens in new window)

This was attached to the existing Chapel building, later known as Kingsgate House, in Eagle Street (David Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

Though damaged in the Second World War, it was subsequently Grade II* listed (Camden planning applications) (opens in new window)

The Baptists left Baptist Church House in 1996 and it was then briefly used as a homeless shelter (Camden planning applications) (opens in new window)

It was on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk register by 2008, when planning permission was granted to convert it into a hotel, according to www.english-heritage.org.uk (opens in new window) (search under Baptist Church House)

The Chapel is also still extant but accessible now only through the main building

The buildings in the area were all also potentially at risk from tunnelling for the Crossrail plan introduced in 2005 (www.crossrail.co.uk) (opens in new window)

What was reforming about it?

The congregation petitioned the Government for the abolition of slavery in the colonies in 1830 (Journal of the House of Lords, vol. 63) and apparently (as “Fisher-street Chapel, Red Lion-square”) also petitioned the House of Commons against the education clauses of the Factory Bill in 1843 (The Times, 4 May 1843)

Where in Bloomsbury

The original chapel or meeting-house for Particular Baptists was built on the south side of Eagle Street at the corner with Kingsgate Street in 1735, and later rebuilt twice (Hayes, East of Bloomsbury, 1998)

The existing building, Kingsgate House, was built in 1856 (www.derelictlondon.com) (opens in new window)

Following the abolition of colonial slavery, the congregation opened a schoolroom to commemorate this achievement in Fisher Street (Baptist Magazine, vol. 26, 1834)

The new headquarters was built in Southampton Row in 1901–1903, adjacent to the Chapel

Website of current institution

There is no website specifically of this Chapel, but the parent organisation is the Baptist Church at www.baptist.org.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

A. T. Ward, Kingsgate Chapel: A Portrayal of a Phase of the Religious, Social and Literary Work Attempted by the Pioneers of the Eagle Street Meeting House, with Special Reference to Andrew Gifford and Joseph Ivimey (1912)


Administrative records from 1856–1876 are held in the Angus Library of Regent’s Park College, Oxford University, ref. GB/NNAF/C79012; details are available online via Access to Archives (opens in new window)

No records of the building have been found

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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