The History of Northam Congregational Church

Belvidere Chapel (later Northam Chapel, and then Northam Congregational Church)

The congregation was established in 1846, as a missionary venture, by Albion Chapel. It was first registered with the council as a place of worship, in York Street, on 2.8.1852. A building in Northam dates from 1854, when Above Bar’s Home missionary society took over its running. It was registered on 15.5.1854 by George Gregg of 8 Lyons Street, as Belvidere Chapel, in Belvidere Terrace. In 1865 Above Bar Church appointed and ordained Rev George W F Gregg to act as a missionary in the working class area of Southampton suburb of Northam, and in that year built a chapel for him to do his missionary work. This daughter church became an independent chapel in 1865. It was originally known as Belvidere Chapel due to its location in Belvidere Terrace, where it served a predominantly working class community. It was situated between 42 and 44 Belvidere Terrace, Northam, next door to a Board School. It later became known as Northam Congregational Church. Its membership in 1901 was 120, and this dropped to 90 in 1914. It had a very large Sunday School and, shortly before the church closed, its then secretary, Harry Barnes, reported taking over 200 children on a Sunday School outing, by train, to the New Forest. The building was destroyed by bombing during the second world war blitz, in November 1940, and most of its records were lost, although the City Department of Leisure services has 4 photographs of the church and the Northam area, a press cutting and a water colour painting. The archives of Avenue St Andrew’s contain a register of baptisms and marriages at Northam, up to 1934. After the bombing, services were held in the boy’s school for a few months. After the war the congregation hoped to rebuild their church, but on 26.8.1946 they decided to discontinue their Sunday evening Service because of lack of helpers and accommodation. They wrote to Above Bar Church suggesting that the Northam members join in and contribute to the Above Bar church’s finances. Above Bar welcomed them, even though they too were without accommodation, due to bombing. When Above Bar joined with St Andrew’s congregation, Northam moved with them. Eventually on 4th January 1948 St Andrews, Above Bar and Northam became a United Presbyterian Congregational Presbyterian church.

Ministers of Northam Church

1854 Rev. George Westbury Fuller Gregg

1885-1907 Rev James Thompson

1908-1909 Rev Walter Cannon

1910-1923 Rev Thomas Henry Harries