Broadmead Baptist Church, Bristol UK
                                                           "The Church Above the Shops"

A brief history of the church

Broadmead was founded in 1640 by five individuals with a concern for the right to worship according to conscience. Prominent among these was Dorothy Hazzard. In spite of persecution by the civil and established church authorities, the church grew steadily stronger in numbers to the end of the 17th century.

The 'Broadmead Records', a diary started by one of the founders, Edward Terrill, and continued by others, tells of these persecutions and the determination of the early congregation not to be crushed. Terrill left his personal fortune to Broadmead; this paid the minister's stipend for many years, and also financed the establishment of the world's first training establishment for Free Church ministers, that eventually became the Bristol Baptist College.

Other famous Broadmead names include William Knibb (who campaigned successfully against slavery within the colonies), and Joshua Marshman (who assisted William Carey in the establishment of the Baptist Missionary Society in India).

Revd R.W. Waddelow (1946-1954) worked tirelessly to convince the city planners of the day that there was a place for a worshipping congregation among the shops, with the result that Broadmead was allowed to remain when other churches were moved to the suburbs.

Revd J. Penry Davies (1956-1973) was most closely involved with the development of the 'new' building, envisaging a 'Baptist Cathedral of the West'.

Revd William Cobley (1974-1989) had the vision and took the first steps in City Centre Ministry. The Undercroft was opened in 1984, offering a quiet space for workers and shoppers in the middle of the day.

The Revd Bob Mills was appointed by the Bristol City Centre Ministry Committee to be full-time Chaplain Minister to the shops and offices in 1987. He retired in 2009. In 2010 the Bristol City Centre Chaplaincy Trust took over resonsibility for the chaplaincy. The current chaplain is the Revd Andy Sewell.

In the ministry of Revd David Wilcox(1990-1995), the church began to make plans for the future and confirmed that the City Centre work was to go on.

From 2011 until 2014 the Revd Hannah Colk was Associate Minister, with responsibility for the midweek ministry of the church.

The present minister is the Revd John Houseago. Ordained in 1979 he joined this church in 1997, after serving in Rickmansworth (1985-1997), Runcorn (1979-1985) and Widnes (1980-1985).