Built just over 300 years ago, a church hall in north London is, for the first time ever, to regularly open it’s doors to the public for tours.
The Newington Green Meeting House was built in 1708, as a home for Christian dissenters who were gathering in Newington Green, at the time a small village far outside London.
A critical mass of such people, including “dissident intellectuals, pedagogues with reforming ideas and Dissenters” and “the well-to-do edge of radical Protestantism” clustered around Newington Green.
Built for £300 in 1708 for the dissenters, and later enlarged, the building has long been a hotbed of revolutionary thinking in the 18th-century and holds the archives of Richard Price, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Andrew Pritchard and most notably Mary Wollstonecraft – leading to it being described as the birthplace of feminism.
The hall is also one of England’s oldest Unitarian churches and is still in use. However, the hall had fallen onto Historic England’s list of buildings at risk, but it’s had a huge refurbishment work to repair damage and make it more suited to modern-day use as a community hall.
The hall will reopen on 12th January 2021, and will for the first time have tours for the general public.
There are two options — with or without a tour guide, although the tours without the guide are really aimed at previous congregants or people just wanting to see the building.
Most people are recommended to book the guided tour, so you can learn the history as well.