141 years ago today, the newly rebuilt Countess of Huntingdon’s Church opened in North Street. This photograph, taken shortly after it reopened in 1871, shows how it dominated the view south from New Road.
The church was originally founded as a small chapel in 1761 by Selina Shirley, the Countess of Huntingdon. Funded by the sale of her jewellery, the chapel attracted numerous followers and was enlarged several times over the next 50 years. By the 1840s, the building featured a neoclassical facade with Ionian columns. Architecturally, it was similar to the nearby Unitarian Church in New Road.
In 1870 the church was completely rebuilt by John Wimble in flint and grey stone. The church reopened in March 1871 and was initially popular. Its congregation declined during the 20th century, however, and it closed in 1966. The spire was dismantled in 1969 and the remainder of the building was demolished in March 1972. Prior to demolition, the Borough Surveyor’s department took several photographs of the interior of the building. These are now held in the Royal Pavilion and Museums’ collections, and can be viewed on our Image Store.
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