Buckland Methodist Chapel



John Wesley established the first Society in Dover when he preached in the town for the first time on 28th January 1756.

Their first meeting place in Buckland was established  in 1806; a memorandum of the time records the details:

“Memorandum that a certificate under the hands of William Clayton, William Farr, Ann Russell, Rebecca Popkiss, William Rogers, and William Francis, Dissenters from the Church of England, commonly called Protestant Dissenters, certifies that a certain building in the occupation of William Farr, in the parish of Buckland, in the county of Kent, intended to be set apart for the worship of Almighty God according to the rules and ceremonies of the Church of England, was registered in the Consistory Court of Canterbury according to Act of Parliament, this 6th day of September, 1806.”

William Farr was my Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather.

The location of William Farr's house is unknown.  Around 1808/1810 the first Wesleyan chapel in Buckland was built on the East side of London Road.  When the new chapel was built in 1839 the previous building was used as a day school and Sunday school.

"The larger building on the opposite side of the road, abutting on Buckland Terrace, built in 1839, was one of the chapels built in celebration of the centenary of Wesleyan Methodism."   (J.B.J. 1907)

  Now named the King's Hall, the old chapel adjoining Buckland Terrace is used for weddings, parties, etc.  The original chapel site is now (2007) occupied by a chemist's shop.

Another Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in Peter Street in 1860.  After the building of the new church in London Road, this chapel had a rather chequered career before being demolished after the second World War.



"Another substantial building in London Road is the Primitive Methodist Church, built in 1901.  This stands just on the border of Buckland, in part of the Bartholomew Fields.  When the Primitive Methodists first missioned Dover, in 1848, they made their first converts in Charlton, their first mission room being a cow loft in Brook Street, not far removed from this new building, which was erected as a substitute for their first chapel in Peter Street, which they sold, and which is now converted into a store.  The site selected for this latest and largest place of worship of the Dover Primitive Methodists is a commanding one, and the building is a credit to the neighbourhood.  Its length and breadth is 61 feet by 37 feet, and its elevation presents to London Road and Beaconsfield Road arrestive classic features.  The interior affords accommodation for about 600 persons.  There are several subsidiary rooms for classes and for the Sunday school.  The foundation stone was laid on the 6th of May, 1901, by the Mayor of Dover, Councillor W. J. Barnes, J.P.  The builders were two members of the Society, Mr. Charles Lewis and Mr. G. Brisley.  It was opened on the 1st of January, 1902, by the Mayor, Mr. Alderman Martyn Mowll, and the members of the Dover Corporation attended in state, the Mayor delivering an appropriate address on the occasion.  The financing of the undertaking was organised by the Rev. I. Dorricott, then the minister in charge, who stated that the entire cost of the building had been £5500, towards which, on the day of the dedication, they had secured £3000, made up of £1000 from the Primitive Methodist Mission Fund, £450 from the sale of Peter Street Chapel, and the remainder derived from local subscriptions.(J.B.J. 1907)


The church, opened on New Year's Day 1902, was extended in 1928.  It was damaged in the second World War and part of it had to be demolished.

My father's sister used to teach at the Sunday school and my mother played the organ; that is how my parents first met.

On 31st August 2003, Buckland Methodist Church was amalgamated with the Tower Hamlets Chapel and the United Reform Church to form the Beacon Centre, so called because of its location on the corner of London Road and Beaconsfield Avenue.


More information about the Beacon Church and Christian Centre, including some internal pictures of the three original churches, can be found on the Beacon Church website.