Richard Baxter (1615-91), the puritan divine
ejected from Kidderminster (Worcs.) in 1662,
moved to Acton in 1663 and lived near the parish
church. (fn. 37) He observed that the Independent
ministries of Philip Nye, 1643-56, and Thomas
Elford, 1656-61, had resulted in loss of support
for 'the Independent separating vigour', because
they had admitted to communion only two out of
the entire parish. When the Act against Conventicles expired, many came from neighbouring
parishes to hear Baxter preach, but since he also
took his followers to services in the parish
church, a separate church was not established
and nonconformist meetings do not appear to
have survived Baxter's departure in 1670, when
he was prosecuted after complaints by the rector,
Bruno Ryves, for holding a conventicle. (fn. 38) In
1690-2 Acton was considered to have nonconformist assemblies, but no minister was recorded. (fn. 39) Between 1703 and 1716 children were
born to two dissenting families in the parish, (fn. 40)
and in 1766 only one dissenting family was noted.
By 1790, however, there were several
Methodists, who were said to have a meeting
house. (fn. 41)
In the early 19th century both Independents
and Wesleyans were active. In 1804 Protestant
dissenters registered for worship a house in the
possession of William Gee, (fn. 42) and in 1810
Calvinists registered another house for worship
and a Sunday school in the western end of the
parish. (fn. 43) In 1817 Calvinists registered their
newly built chapel on Acton hill, besides a shed
adjoining the house of John Charles Gee, (fn. 44) and
the chapel was also used by Baptists and
Wesleyans until they built their own churches.
Dissenters from East Acton and Hammersmith
registered the ground floor of a house in East
Acton belonging to Mrs. Ann Carter in 1820, the
minister being Thomas Crabb of Belmont House
academy, Turnham Green. (fn. 45) They registered
another building in East Acton in 1831 and a
house in the middle of the village in 1836. (fn. 46)
In 1851 only the Congregationalists and the
Wesleyans had recognized congregations, with
attendances of 80 and 176 respectively. (fn. 47) Nonconformist activity remained sporadic until the
rise in population in the late 19th century.
Wesleyans built a new chapel in 1857, Baptists in
1865, and Congregationalists in 1871, and all
three sects had started missions in the south part
of the parish by the 1880s. (fn. 48) By 1890 they had
been joined by Primitive Methodists, United
Methodists, Strict Baptists, and Plymouth
Brethren, (fn. 49) and soon afterwards by the Salvation
Army, Society of Friends, and Unitarians. On
one Sunday in 1903 Baptists had the most
attendances with 1,130, the Methodist sects had
874, and Congregationalists 845. The next
largest groups were the Brethren with 305 and
the Salvation Army with 235. Altogether nonconformist worshippers totalled 3,826, compared with 4,718 Anglicans and 427 Roman
Catholics. (fn. 50)
New activity in the 20th century was mainly
confined to missions, mostly short lived, by
undesignated Christian sects. Buildings were
erected by the established denominations between the World Wars at Acton Green and, with
the spread of housing, in East Acton. After the
Second World War declining attendances led to
the amalgamation of two Baptist churches, and in
1976 the Congregationalists and Wesleyans
agreed to share premises at Acton hill. (fn. 51)
Calvinists reg. new
chapel 1817, built by S. Smith of Davies St.,
Westminster, N. side of Acton hill, just W. of
Red Lion. (fn. 52) Two-storeyed brick bldg., (fn. 53) seating
200. (fn. 54) Membership rose from c. 12 to c. 40
1846. (fn. 55) Attendance 1851: 40 a.m.; 40 p.m. (fn. 56)
Church re-formed 1855 but by 1864 most
members worshipped elsewhere and chapel used
by Bapts. Chapel reopened and new church
formed with 16 members 1866. Moved to Acton
hall, Church Rd., until new church built. (fn. 57)
Acton Cong. church, Churchfield Rd., built
1871, seating c. 900, (fn. 58) by J. Tarring & Son. (fn. 59)
Seated 800 in 1894. (fn. 60) Attendance 1903: 405 a.m.;
282 p.m. (fn. 61) Renamed Acton United Reformed
church 1972. Joined Acton Hill Meth. church
1976 to form Acton Hill church (Meth., later
United Reformed), using Meths.' bldgs.
Churchfield Rd. premises sold and demol. (fn. 62)
Mission work began in S. Acton c. 1882, with
open-air services in Junction Terrace. (fn. 63) Laundry
used for winter services and Sunday sch. added.
Mission adopted by Acton Cong. church 1884,
and iron hall built between nos. 11 and 13
Palmerston Rd. 1885, enlarged 1887, and reg.
1889 as S. Acton mission hall. (fn. 64) Seated 180 in
1894. (fn. 65) Attendance 1903: 37 a.m.; 121 p.m.
Adjoining property bought and hall with kitchen
and classroom built 1908. Mission closed after
1955. (fn. 66)
Wes. Meths. acquired large ho.
in Steyne near junction with High St. 1817, (fn. 67)
reg. rooms for worship in Brentford (later
Gunnersbury) Lane 1840, and opposite George
inn 1843. (fn. 68) Chapel in Steyne built 1845, seating
140. Attendance 1851: 69 a.m.; 107 p.m. (fn. 69) New
chapel with Sunday and day schs. and separate
teacher's ho., built 1857 E. side Gunnersbury
Lane, near High St., (fn. 70) of Kentish ragstone in
Gothic style. Chapel enlarged 1864 for over 100
additional seats. (fn. 71) Became mother church of new
Ealing and Acton circuit 1867. (fn. 72) Attendance
1903: 198 a.m.; 177 p.m. Replaced 1907 by
church built on site of the Oaks, whose grounds
bounded existing chapel, and latter became
church hall. (fn. 73) Acton Hill Meth. church, by
Gordon & Gordon, built of Kentish ragstone and
dressings of Bath stone, with tower and Gothic
detail. (fn. 74) Seated 780 on ground floor, 181 in
gallery, 39 in choir. (fn. 75) W. transept converted to
war memorial chapel 1921, reducing seats to 800.
Agreement with Acton United Reformed church
1976, for joint use of Acton hill church. Extensive
remodelling of interior 1978, reducing seating to
c. 650. (fn. 76) Gunnersbury Lane chapel housed community relations centre 1979.
Acton Green Wes. church originated in mtgs.
in ho. in Antrobus Rd. before 1885. (fn. 77) Wes. Meth.
sch. chapel, Steele Rd., Acton Green, reg. 1885. (fn. 78)
Attendance 1903: 173 a.m.; 100 p.m. New church
built 1930 on site of chapel and sch., and reg. as
Acton Green Wes. hall. (fn. 79) Rectangular, flatroofed bldg. in red brick with stone dressings, by
Smee & Houchin in style of Methodist Central
Halls (Westminster). Large hall seating 350-400;
small hall seating c. 100; classrooms, vestry, and
others rooms; on two levels. All services in small
hall 1978. (fn. 80)
Old Oak Wes. mtg. formed 1922, using disused day sch. at corner of Fitzquest St. and Old
Oak Common Lane, E. Acton. (fn. 81) Old Oak Meth.
church built in the Fairway, E. Acton, and reg.
1926. (fn. 82) Single-storeyed bldg. of red brick with
steeply pitched tiled roof and small tower, seating
c. 150. After fire 1977 members worshipped in
Primitive Meths. built Ebenezer chapel, Park
Rd. North, 1867. (fn. 83) Seventh London circuit 1880,
Ealing circuit 1898. (fn. 84) Attendance 1903: 56 a.m.;
60 p.m. Served from Ealing by 1911. (fn. 85) Closed c.
1934. (fn. 86)
United Meth. Free church, between nos. 41
and 43, Bollo Bridge Road, by 1880. Sixth
London circuit 1880, (fn. 87) London (Willesden)
circuit by 1926. (fn. 88) Attendance 1903: 54 a.m.;
56 p.m. Services in iron bldg. until church built
adjoining. (fn. 89) Reg. 1903, renamed United Meth.
church 1907. (fn. 90) Two-storeyed brick bldg. with
stone dressings. (fn. 91) Demol. after 1955.
Acton Bapt. church originated in
services held in Independent chapel, Acton hill,
from c. 1856. Organized 1865. (fn. 92) Brick church
with rendered front in Church Rd. 1864 by W.
Mumford, seating 450. (fn. 93) Galleries added between 1875 and 1885 bringing seating to 650.
Sunday sch. room added at rear of church, and
halls on two floors 1899. (fn. 94) Church membership
46 c. 1866, reached peak of c. 275 on roll 1908.
Attendance 1903: 277 a.m.; 204 p.m. Mission
work in Bollo Bridge, E. Acton, and Acton
Green, 1875-85, included cottage services and
open-air mtgs. (fn. 95)
South Acton Bapt. church formed after split at
Church Rd., when some members wanted visiting missioner to remain at Acton. Worshipped in
Acton hall, Church Rd., 1894. Chapel built at
corner of Newton Ave. and Avenue Rd. 1895: (fn. 96)
yellow brick, by F. W. Stocking. (fn. 97) Reg. as
Evangelistic Church 1897. (fn. 98) Attendance 1903: 236
a.m.; 308 p.m. Designation altered as pastors
changed: Newton Ave. Bapt. church 1900-1;
Evangelistic Free church 1902-8; Church of
Christ 1909-11. Reverted to Bapt. church between 1912 and 1915. Withdrew from London
Bapt. Assoc. and Bapt. Union between 1924 and
1926. (fn. 99) Reg. as Bapt. Free church 1944, and
renamed S. Acton Bapt. church 1960. (fn. 1) Joined
Church Rd. Bapts. 1977. Newton Ave. bldg.
sold, and used by Ukrainian Autocephalic
Orthodox church from 1977. (fn. 2)
Strict Bapts. began mission at no. 5 Richmond
Terrace, Shakespeare Rd., 1881. (fn. 3) Church
formed 1882. Worshipped in Churchfield hall
1885. Iron Beulah tabernacle in Acton Lane, at
Leythe Rd., 1888. Attendance 1903: 35 a.m.; 34
p.m. Closed after 1955. (fn. 4)
Hope Bapt. church, Cromartie Rooms, Park
Rd. North, formed 1901 by group from S. Acton
church. (fn. 5) Attendance 1903: 14 a.m.; 22 p.m.
Church re-formed 1904 and moved to Horn
Lane, where Bapt. church at corner of Horn Lane
and Faraday Rd. reg. 1905. (fn. 6) Closed 1934; bldg.
renamed Faraday hall and used by Acton Liberal
Assoc. (fn. 7)
East Acton Bapt. church, John Bradford
Memorial, E. Acton Lane. Church of red brick
with gabled roof of dark red tiles, by W. Hayne,
built 1931. (fn. 8) Reg. by Bapts. 1937. (fn. 9)
Acton Green Bapt. mission rooms, no. 56
Antrobus Rd., opened c. 1887, but housed unsectarian mission by 1894. (fn. 10)
Mtgs. held in Acton hall, Church
Rd., by 1888, until c. 1900, and at Berrymead
mission room, no. 38 Avenue Rd., by 1894. (fn. 11)
Attendance 1903: 68 a.m.; 75 p.m. Renamed
Berrymead gospel hall by 1940. (fn. 12) In 1903 mtgs.
also held at no. 25 the Parade, Acton Vale;
attendance: 70 a.m.; 66 p.m.; and at private ho.,
no. 3 Birkbeck Rd.; attendance: 17 a.m.; 9 p.m.
Mtgs. held 1958 at Larden Rd. hall and no. 50
Churchfield Rd. (fn. 13)
Society of friends.
Though George Fox held
mtg. in fields near Acton 1654, and public mtg.
took place 1802, (fn. 14) regular mtgs. not held until
1894, when Friends' mtg. and adult sch. started in
private ho. (fn. 15) In 1896 mtg. ho. at no. 5 Avenue Rd.
was reg., (fn. 16) replaced 1901 with larger premises at
no. 1 (later renumbered as no. 43) Avenue Rd.
Iron hall seating c. 340 built 1902 in grounds to
replace tent used for larger mtgs. Became
particular mtg. 1903. Attendance 1903: 32 a.m.;
65 p.m. Joined Ealing mtg. 1940. (fn. 17)
No. 3 Grove Place, Grove
Rd., reg. by 1893. Attendance 1903: 82 a.m.; 153
p.m. Replaced by hall in Church Rd. 1912. In
1922 replaced by citadel, Acton Lane, but moved
to Crown Street 1926. (fn. 18) In use 1979.
Other denominations and unspecified
Acton Green Railway Mission,
Cunnington St., opened 1900. (fn. 19) Attendance
1903: 82 a.m.; 92 p.m. Reg. 1924 as Railway
Mission hall, by undesignated Christians, and
renamed Acton Memorial Free church by 1958. (fn. 20)
Services held in 1979 in iron bldg.
Unitarians met in Market Place 1903, when
attendance was 32 p.m. Iron church in Creffield
Rd., opposite Haberdashers' sch., reg. 1906. Still
in use 1940 but closed by 1954. (fn. 21)
Presbs. held services in Willesden Junction
Railway Institute, Railway Cottages, Old Oak
Lane, 1903, when attendance was 54 a.m.;
Acton Spiritual Mission held in two rooms at
the Cottage, Woodhurst Rd., from 1929. Renamed Acton Spiritualist church 1960, where
mtgs. were held 1979. (fn. 22)
Church of England Evangelical Protestants
reg. St. Mark's Church Ho., on ground floor of
no. 15 Newburgh Rd., 1946. (fn. 23)
Jehovah's Witnesses reg. Kingdom hall, nos.
318-20 Acton Lane, 1974. (fn. 24)
Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church
took over former S. Acton Bapt. church,
Newton Ave., 1977. (fn. 25)
Acton lecture hall, Church Rd., built c. 1866,
reg. for unsectarian Christian mtgs. 1884, and
used by several denominations. Closed c. 1900. (fn. 26)
Liberty Hall Evangelistic Mission, no. 2
Berrymead Gardens, reg. by undesignated
Christians 1908. Still in use 1914 but United
Services Club by 1933. (fn. 27) Christians' mtg. room
at rear of no. 223 High St., reg. 1912, cancelled
1954. (fn. 28) Pentecostal Evangelistic Mission, no. 226
Acton Lane, reg. 1941. Still in use 1958 but
cancelled 1964. Pentecostal free church held
mtgs. in L.C.S. hall 1958. (fn. 29) York Rd. mtg. room,
no. 83 York Rd., reg. 1972 by undesignated
Christians. (fn. 30)