Church Road 17, "Teddington Baptist Church"
Road: Church Road, Teddington
Teddington Baptist Church has been on its site in Church Road since 1884 when it started with a "Tin Tabernacle" followed by a 560 seater Victorian style "preacher's church" opened 23 January 1895. Today its buildings have three main parts which are easily distinguished by their architectural style: The Main Hall (Edwardian red brick with sloping slate roofing), The Worship Area (rectangular in 1950s red brick) and the Atrium (21st century glass and steel).
The Main Hall (and its surrounding rooms) was opened on 23 September 1908 as a suite of rooms for the Church's Sunday School. The Hall itself has a high wooden ceiling and can easily seat 200 people downstairs. Upstairs it has a gallery with benches for more seating. The Main Hall is surrounded by small rooms originally intended for use as classrooms and lecture rooms. From 1940-1956, the Main Hall was used for Sunday services as well as mid-week activities and during that period it was equipped with an organ as well as a baptismal pool.
The Worship Area (and surrounding rooms) was opened on 15 September 1956 replacing the Victorian church which had been completely destroyed by an incendiary bomb on 29 November 1940. The fire brigade saved the Main Hall by spraying water in the gap between the two buildings. During the Second World War there was an air raid shelter on the site of the old Victorian Church but it was only in 1954 that work began on building a new Church/Worship Area.
The design specification for the new Worship Area included the building of a Victorian-style church (focused on the pulpit) in modern materials (i.e. concrete) but without any supports under the galleries to obscure the view. This resulted in a very rectangular interior with massive concrete beams along the front of each gallery which themselves obscured the view from upstairs of the congregation downstairs (and vice versa). The pulpit was high above a lower platform with a covered baptismal pool while the choir sat behind the preacher in a high level choir gallery. The front of the worship area was decked out in dark oak panelling which, with dark oak pews, made the interior quite dark and austere.
The resulting Worship Area has since been substantially modified inside. For example, at the end of 1987, a fire in the ceiling of the worship area triggered a redevelopment which replaced the pulpit and choir gallery with a two level platform covering the baptismal pool. At the same time pews were replaced with chairs, most of the dark oak panelling was removed, the decorative scheme was lightened and the Worship Area was carpetted. Further refurbishments of the Worship Area took place in 1999 and 2008.
The Main Hall and Worship Area are linked by a modern glass and steel Atrium opened on 20 November 2004 which provides easy access to all parts of the buildings with ramps and a lift.
This page is part of the Directory of Buildings of Townscape Merit (BTMs) and Listed Buildings in Teddington assembled by the Planning and History Groups of The Teddington Society. Click on any photo for a higher resolution version. Copyright for the material on this page rests with the contributor (Colin Hicks).