This visit was to Manvers Street Baptist Church, Bath. I start as always with a little history. It was taken from the Church web page www.manversstreetbaptistchurch.org.uk where more information can be found.
“This church was probably founded in 1752 but before that there was Baptist life in the city.
Robert Parsons was a member of the Broadmead Baptist Church in Bristol as were some others who came to the Bath meetings. In 1752 Parsons and eight others were dismissed from the Broadmead membership to form a church in Bath. Parsons, a stonemason, became the Pastor of the church.
Somerset Street Baptist Church as it was known continued its life until in the 1860′s the premises became unsuitable. Plans were drawn up for a for a new building on the same site but the church decided to move to a site in Manvers Street instead this being a more agreeable area. This building was opened in 1872.
When the building was opened there was only the Sanctuary, side vestries and the large schoolroom situated beneath. Soon, the church experienced the enormous growth in membership which was fairly common in cities in Victorian times. During the pastorate of James Baillie 1877 – 1886 the numbers on the church roll more than doubled.
Over the years, the church bought pieces of land to the rear and the side of the sanctuary and in 1907 the buildings were added at the back which were known as the Institute.
For some years the church had entertained the idea of building a friendship centre but this never came to fruition. However, by 1990 a clear vision to build the Open House Centre became apparent. The centre was built in a number of phases. In 1992 the building of phase One was completed.
Phase two was completed in 1997 and provided a new entrance into the building with an access ramp and automatic doors.
The final phase, comprising of the refurbishment and redecoration of the Sanctuary was completed in 2001.”