How it began

During the month of January 1833 a few friends began to meet for preaching services on Thursday evenings fortnightly in “Grosvenor Cottage”, the home of a Mr Westcott. They soon became numerous and regular, and the hearts of many were gladdened within those humble walls.

On Thursday August 15th a meeting was held there to discuss the possibility of building a place for worship. The following resolutions were passed

1.    That Divine Service should be held every Lord’s Day, provided that a more suitable place can be found.
2.   That  neighbouring Ministers should be asked to supply for the next three months.
        Five of those present engaged to do so in rotation.
3.   That a Committee be formed to carry these resolutions into effect.
4.   That a vote of thanks be accorded  to the deputation present, and a  grant of  five pounds be given towards the expense of fitting up a suitable place of worship.

In accordance with the spirit of the first and third resolutions, a Mr Knight was asked the following morning for the loan of a new School Room which he had, to be used for  public worship.  An agreement was entered into for the payment of six pounds per annum.

A few days later ( 19th) of the same month, the first committee meeting took place,  several resolutions were passed and thereafter followed, from August 25th until  November 21st ,  the most promising prospects, culminating in the holding of a second meeting,  when it was resolved–

1. That the School Room should be occupied just another 3 months.
2. That the room is not commodious enough now and too narrow for its purpose.
     Also that a subscription list be opened to begin a building fund for a larger place.
     As low as a penny per week would be welcomed
3. That a Mr Carr of Frant be Treasurer and a Mr Haines of Tunbridge Wells be Secretary, monies being  paid into a  Savings Bank monthly.
     (It was afterward found that the Savings Bank could not legally receive the money).
4.  That Ministers who can do so preach three times each Sabbath.

On March 27  a Special meeting was held in the School when these resolutions were agreed..

1. That it is desirable to erect a more commodious place of worship in Tunbridge Wells as soon as convenient, for use by the Baptist Denomination.
2.  That a piece of freehold ground be sought  forthwith, as near the New Town as possible.
3. That five hundred pounds be borrowed at interest  not exceeding 5 per cent.
4.   That if the freehold ground is procured, it be vested in the hands of fifteen persons as trustees, to be appointed by the building committee; and that two persons out of each of the Baptist Churches in the neighbourhood   be appointed.
5.  That a regular Trust Deed be prepared.

On May 27th another meeting took place at the School Room, when the conduct of the Committee in the purchase of the ground was approved, after which the dimensions, plans and elevation of the new Chapel were issued, and tenders received.  Crouch and Montier were appointed to be the builders,  the estimate being 885 pounds.

At a further meeting on June 9 it was unanimously agreed that, in consequence of the estimate considerably exceeding our expectations, it seemed prudent to make the following alterations: the school room to be wholly abandoned; the vestry in the present specification and estimate be set aside and a mere lean to building be substituted. Also that the wall and iron rail in front of the erection, as shown in the present plan be dispensed with, and a neat wooden fence put in its stead.

On July 7 It was proposed and unanimously carried that the erection of the Chapel be immediately proceeded with after the revised plan adopted on May 27 and further revised on June 9. The building was accordingly begun  and finished on November 5, 1834.  It was opened on November 6th 1834 when Mr Evans preached in the morning, Mr Shirley in the afternoon and Mr Castleden in the evening.

In its erection, the utmost care has been taken to reject unnecessary expense, every mere embellishment has been avoided, and where there had been the smallest opportunity to decrease the amount without injuring the building or lessening its usefulness it has been readily taken.

At a meeting held on December 11th 1834 the propriety of securing a certain sum of money as a mortgage on the Chapel was discussed. Proposed and seconded that £600 be borrowed for the above purpose.

In the event an offer from a friend to advance this sum was accepted.