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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 24 January 2010

 

 

Thanet Part 9: Churches of Broadstairs, Reading Street, & St Peter's

Star of the East Hall

The Star of the East Hall is on the south-eastern corner of Edge End Road, two streets over from Christ Church. Over the door reads a plaque: 'Independent Order of Good Templars, Star of the East Lodge No.3776. This hall was erected through the kind generosity of our late Sister De Merveilleux'. Little information can be found on the hall, but by 2009, spiritualists, working under the name Spiritual Dawn, were holding healing sessions there twice a week.

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses lies northwards of the Star of the East Hall, at the far end of the railway station car park, off St Peter's Park Road. Like most modern places of worship for Jehovah's Witnesses, which are always called Kingdom Hall, this building follows a standard pattern in its design and execution. A different building existed on the site in 1985, but it is not known if that was also a Kingdom Hall or even a place of worship.

Quaker Meeting House

The Quaker Meeting House is on St Peter's Park, at the corner with Fordound Road. The East Kent area of the Religious Society of Friends consists of local meetings, with this building housing the Broadstairs meetings. A Quaker meeting is based on silence - an expectant silence of waiting - in which the participants seek to come nearer to each other and to God. Sometimes a meeting may pass in total silence, although anyone is free to break that silence if necessary.

Catholic Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea

The Catholic Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea is a little further west, on the inside of the junction of St Peter's Road with Broadstairs Road. The church was built in 1888, at a time when many new Catholic churches were appearing in Kent. The design for the apse and north tower was supplied by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who was chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches, cathedrals and workhouses in the Late Victorian period.

Westover Free Church

Westover Free Church is some way to the north and west of Broadstairs, on the north-east corner of Prince Charles Road and Linley Road in the Westover Estate, on the way to Reading Street village. In 1953 Harold Seccombe, who was on the local council, called a meeting at his home in Westwood Road with a view to forming a non-conformist church on the Westover Estate. The current site was made available and the church was opened for public worship in October 1954.

Westover Free Church

Early congregations consisted of members of other churches who lived nearby, and in December 1964 the church became a member of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC), a membership that has continued to the present day. In 1969 the rear hall was completed and inaugurated in September of that year. During 1973 the baptistry was created, much of the work being done voluntarily by church members.

St Andrew's Church, Reading Street

St Andrew's Church, Reading Street is on the main road through the village, which is now an outlying attachment of northern Broadstairs. Reading or Redyng Street was established by Flemish refugees in the 1600s. The history of the Anglican Church here dates back to 1868 with the building of the church's infant school. In 1871, a curate was sent from St Peter-in-Thanet to take divine service in the school and in time it was felt that the village should have its own church.

St Andrew's Church, Reading Street

The church hall was built first and dedicated in 1907. It was used as a dual purpose building before adjacent land was used to build the church itself. The new brick and stone church was dressed in a ragstone exterior and consecrated on 11 April 1911. Furnishing was interrupted by the First World War, but was completed soon afterwards with a beautiful oaken screen commemorating the villagers who did not return from the war being added in 1920.

Oasis Pentecostal Church (Elim)

Oasis Pentecostal Church (Elim) is on Ranelagh Grove, on the eastern side of the village of St Peter's, some way south of Reading Street. The church is part of the Elim Pentecostal Church of over 500 congregations worldwide. The name 'Elim' was taken from the book of Exodus where the Israelites, exhausted and dispirited en route from Egypt to Canaan, came to Elim an oasis in the desert where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees.

Oasis Pentecostal Church (Elim)

The church of Elim was founded in 1915 by a Welshman in Monaghan in Ireland. George Jeffreys was an outstanding evangelist and church planter. He had a Welsh Congregational background, was strongly influenced by the Welsh Revival of 1904, and was introduced to Pentecost by an Anglican vicar. The movement grew with amazing rapidity in the first half of the twentieth century against the background of a dramatic decline in other church congregations.

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