The Old Chapel is one of the oldest buildings in Upminster dating back to 1800, before the construction of Upminster Windmill but still with connections to James Nokes who funded both the building of the Windmill and the Old Chapel and was a member of the Chapel congregation. The Abrahams family who worked the Mil were also members of the Chapel congregation It was built as a ‘Protestant Dissenters’ chapel and was used up until 1912 by the Congregational Church who moved into new and biger premises in Station Road just before the start of World War 1. A Plymouth Brethren congregation took over the premises in 1912 and occupied and used the building until 1988.
The Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School acquired the Old Chapel in 2005 when it was in a state of dilapidation and on the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ Register. From the date of acquisition up until 2011 when renovation works began, the Project Manager appointed from the Senior Leadership Team at the School, Stuart Beck, worked with personnel at the London Office of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and with professional consultants to put together a bid for an HLF grant of almost £700k and to raise a further £400k from other sources. Renovation work started in 2011 and the building was officially opened in March 2013 as a chapel for the School as a worshipping community as well as a historical resource and venue for local community activity.
Further information about the history and pictures of the Chapel is given in the final section below
Hire of the Premises
The Chapel can be hired for use by community groups and enquiries should be addressed to Mrs Linda Austin at the School by telephone (01708 222660 – Finance – Option 5) or by emaiI [email protected].
Friends of the Old Chapel
The Friends of Upminster Old Chapel (the Friends) was formed just before renovation work started in the early 2010s as part of the Activity Plan approved and supported by HLF. The Friends have a committee that organises various events in support of the Chapel, its heritage as well as the general promotion of topics of local, historical interest. The main work of the committee is focused on raising funds for the upkeep of the Old Chapel. Newsletters are produced as and when needed and a monthly ‘tea and talk’ programme is organised. The Friends also administer the membership list and membership currently costs £10 a year.
To contact the Friends, please use the following e-mail address [email protected]
The latest newsletter produced by the Friends is provided here:
NEWSLETTER – AUGUST 2023
It has been two and a half years since we transferred our monthly talks to Roope Hall at the United
Reformed Church in Station Road, Upminster while the Old Chapel has been out of use. We are hopeful
that the monitoring and necessary works will be completed during 2024 and we can return to the Chapel.
Meanwhile, Roope Hall continues to be the ideal ‘temporary’ solution.
We are delighted to report that some members have offered to join the committee since our recent
appeals for help. Jill Coombes & Shirley Boelrijk have offered to assist with managing the refreshments and
Brenda Prigmore is willing to assist with the treasurer’s role – thank you and welcome!
We would like to record our thanks to our regular volunteers – Vera Cornwell & Jeanette Cayzer who
manage the washing-up rota between them – Jeanette also helps on the door; Jill, Shirley & David Hurst
who have regularly helped to serve the teas & coffees; and Margaret & David Skinner for their help with
handling membership payments at the monthly meetings when Rosemary has not been available.
It would be appreciated if more volunteers would join the rota for making & serving the teas & coffees –
please, please consider helping out in this way. Come and talk to us at the next Teas & Talks or send an
email to: [email protected] – thank you
We look forward to seeing you at the Tea & Talks in the Winter/Spring 2024. Doors open at Roope Hall at
10.00 am for a 10.30 am start. £2 supplement for members. There is a £4 admission charge for non-
members and £2 for members. Tea, coffee and biscuits are served at the end of each meeting.
10th January 2024 – Havering Amazing Eccentrics – Stephen Raindell
14th February 2024 – Legacy of Suttons Farm/ RAF Hornchurch – Peter Owen
13th March 2024 – Schoolgirls’ War – Mary Smith
The Summer 2024 programme of Tea & Talks is yet to be finalised but the Friends’ Association’s AGM will
be held at the usual time and at the usual place on 12th June. There will also be a speaker at this meeting
with a slightly shorter timeslot of 45 minutes.
Email: [email protected]