LEEDS ROAD: Leeds Road new Leeds Baptist Church History up to 1912.



The history of the Baptist Community in Leeds Road goes back to the time when "New Leeds" was a village and stood about a mile distant from Bradford. At that time, it is stated, "with the exception of a few cottages there was scarcely a building between Birksland Street and the Court-house." Towards the end of 1838, three men— Charles Everdale, Joseph Roberts, and S. W. Scarlett— all of them connected with Westgate Chapel, started a Sunday school in what was known as "the bad little village of New Leeds." The lower room of a cottage in Buck Row, Birksland Street, was lent, free of rent, for the work. In a short time, owing to the increasing congregations, another room had to be secured. There were other removals and enlargements as years went by until, in 1877, the mother Church at Westgate took in hand the building of the present chapel.

The foundation stones were laid on the 3rd of November, 1877, by Alderman William Whitehead, who was superintendent of the Sunday school for thirty-six years, and to whom Leeds Road will ever remain indebted. The premises were opened by Rev. Henry Dowson on 27th of November, 1878, and the Church, as distinct from that at Westgate, was formed in February, 1892, three hundred and four members being transferred from Westgate for the purpose. The chapel and appointments cost about £9,000. The first pastor was Rev. William Jones, who ministered faithfully and successfully for some years previous to the ultimate separation from Westgate. In 1892, Rev. Robert Herries became pastor. He was "a man greatly beloved." For sixteen years he carried on an earnest ministry, eventually leaving to become pastor of Queen Victoria Street Church, at Belfast.

The promoters of the cause at Leeds Road, were men of wise foresight, purchasing sufficient land when the chapel was erected, for subsequent school premises. The new schools were built in 1907, at a cost of £4,600, and opened on the 7th of June, 1908. In October, 1909, the Rev. J. Rhys Davies, previously of Southport, became minister. Leeds Road has proved one of the best developments of Baptist life in Bradford.

Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2014
from the "Present Churches" section of
The Baptists of Yorkshire
by Rev. J. Brown Morgan
and Rev. C.E. Shipley