History Files


Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 24 January 2010

Thanet Part 8: Churches of Broadstairs

Holy Trinity Church, Broadstairs, Kent

Holy Trinity Broadstairs is on Nelson Place, at the junction with Church Road (on the right here), just to the north of the High Street and close to the beach. Broadstairs itself was a seaside extension of the village of St Peter's, and as the population grew, so a local place of worship was required. In 1829 work began to build a chapel of ease to St Peter-in-Thanet, known as Bradstow Chapel. It was consecrated the following year. In 1862 a new tower was completed.

Holy Trinity Church, Broadstairs, Kent

A clock was added by Thomas Crampton and the completed church was known as 'The Petrified Haystack'. In 1866 the chapel became Broadstairs parish church with its own parish. The church was partially rebuilt in 1915, converting it from a Gothic box into a Romanesque basilica, but in 1924 the tower was demolished, despite being secure. The church was further rebuilt and extended but plans for a new tower were abandoned in 1952.

St Mary's Chapel, Broadstairs, Kent

St Mary's Chapel is on the eastern side of Albion Street, opposite Alexandra Road. It stands on the site once occupied by the famous shrine of Our Lady of Bradstowe. The shrine attracted pilgrims from afar, and dated at least to the eleventh century and possibly even earlier but not necessarily on this exact spot. Parts of this building date to the thirteenth century, but the 1601 plaque refers to its restoration. Now called Old St Mary's, it serves as Holy Trinity's parish room.

York Street Methodist Church, Broadstairs, Kent

York Street Methodist Church is on the eastern side of York Road, which leads south from Albion Street at the High Street junction. No information seems to be available on its construction, but a date of 1880 or 1890 would probably be close. Set back a little from the road, the entranceway is now dominated by the access ramp and an 'airlock' for the air conditioned building. This work and more was all carried out in 2009, and was officially unveiled on 2 May.

Queen's Road Baptist Church, Broadstairs, Kent

Queen's Road Baptist Church is on the eastern side of the road, very close to the junction with the High Street. The first building on the site was the hall next to the church (shown here), which dates to 1899, and this served as the first meeting place for the congregation before the main building was completed in 1907. Then the hall served as a school for a time. By about 1969, the church's work of serving the local community made it necessary to expand.

Queen's Road Baptist Church, Broadstairs, Kent

With this expansion in mind a neighbouring house was purchased and eventually demolished to make way for a modern church hall (just visible on the far right of the previous photo). By 2009 the same problem of a lack of space had arisen again. It was decided that remaining in the same location was best, but that the church and halls should be completely stripped out and totally rebuilt, while retaining the outer shell. The next stage was to raise the necessary funds.

The Vale United Reformed Church, Broadstairs, Kent

The Vale United Reformed Church lies to the south of Queen's Road, midway along The Vale as it heads west from the Ramsgate Road. Formerly a Congregational church, its parishioners originally met in the small chapel of St Mary's in the centre of Broadstairs. Their minister, realising that the premises were too small for the church's needs, was walking along The Vale when he was offered land in a large garden next to Vale Villa on which to build a new church.

The Vale United Reformed Church, Broadstairs, Kent

The new building was opened in 1871 when a memorial stone was laid by the MP for Hackney. Now at last there was enough room for the holidaymakers in the summer months to join the local congregation of about thirty members, some of whom had joined the church to avoid the new Anglo-Catholic minister at Holy Trinity. A memorial plaque was erected in the church to its first pastor, the Reverend A F Bennett, who passed away on 11 July 1894, aged 68 years.

Christ Church Free Church of England, Broadstairs, Kent

Christ Church Free Church of England is on the eastern side of Osbourne Road, which is accessed from the south via The Vale. Otherwise called the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Free Church of England was enrolled as a definite legal entity in the High Court of Chancery in 1863 (after splitting from the official Anglican church in 1844), as a response to the Anglo-Catholism of Henry Phillpotts, bishop of Exeter. The first church was built in Bridgetown in Devon.

Christ Church Free Church of England, Broadstairs, Kent

Now free to follow their evangelical (or Low Church) practises in opposition to the more formal (High Church) practises of the established church, the Free Church began to spread across Britain. The date at which their original mission in Broadstairs was founded is unknown but, as reported in the London Gazette, the current church building was consecrated on the same site as the original mission on 10 July 1916 and apparently remained in use in 2009.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler.



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