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Our History

There has been a Methodist Church in Notting Hill since 1870. For much of that time the church has adapted to the changes in the local community. Our congregation now comprises people from different countries.

Notting Hill Methodist Church is in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a borough known for its wealth and luxurious homes. However, much of the north of the borough, where the Church is situated, does not conform to this description.


In the 1950s the Church was in an area of deprivation. Slum clearance took place all around the building in the early seventies together with the building of the elevated A40 motorway into London.  The Church is now surrounded by tower blocks and social housing.


North Kensington has always been a place where immigrants to the UK have come to live. In the 1920s and 1930s there were many Jewish, Spanish and Irish settlers and in the early 1950s people from the Caribbean were moving into the area. Today, Notting Hill is home to people from almost every country of the world.


The current Church was built in 1879, a typical Victorian building seating up to a thousand people. There was a hall in the basement with the worship area on the ground floor. It had two side aisles and a balcony all round. The building was opened in 1880 and was known as Lancaster Road Wesleyan Methodist Church. The pipe organ was installed in 1886 and is still in its original position today, although it is not playable today.


Following the Notting Hill race riots in 1958, The Revd Dr. Donald Soper was instrumental in setting up a Team of three Ministers at the Church in 1960. The aim was to enable the Church and its members to become a centre for reconciliation in the area. His vision was blessed and gradually the congregation increased with many people from the Caribbean and Africa finding a warm welcome.  Membership reached well over 300 in the early 1970s. The Team Ministry and its members became very active within the community and were instrumental in setting up the Notting Hill Social Council, working to improve the housing and the amenities of the area. In 1972 the team was reduced to two members and since 1990 there has been one Minister.  Still a high ratio for Methodism.


Over the years there has been a major alteration to the interior of the original building creating more space for use of the community and allowing the church to be more user-friendly for the smaller congregations of today. In 1997 the Worship Area was raised to the second floor, and can be reached by a lift or stairs. This was achieved by putting in a floor at the balcony level. The new rooms created on the intermediate floor between hall and worship area are in use most days of the week by church and community groups.


Constant refurbishment has led to many new users from the local community crossing over the threshold over the past quarter of a century.  Today the basement is the home of the Kensington and Chelsea Foodbank and the 240 Project.  Two other churches from different traditions use the worship area on Sunday afternoons.   

Notting Hill Methodist Church is seeking to build on its history of being an inclusive church, and by the grace of God is seeking to grow its congregation.  It declares boldy on the outside of the building we are here For God, for all, for you and tries to do all in its power to live up to this statement.



The Methodist Church also manages a community hall (Etheline Holder Hall) on the former site of Denbigh Road Methodist Church, near Notting Hill Gate.  This space is well used by groups supporting children and affinity groups. Adjacent to the hall are residential flats and commercial properties professionally managed by Church staff and managed by Denbigh Road Methodist Housing Association. The church is also the steward of an ½ acre walled garden in North Kensington called Kelfield Gardens, this is primarily used by a longstanding pre-school. 



In the 1960's The Methodist Church became a focal point for Caribbean identity in Notting Hill, bringing together many who had come to London as part of the Windrush generation. See our video below

Please note This film features language that some may find shocking. The words are used in the context of their time and, while distressing, are included to ensure we hear the authentic, lived experience of being black in Britain


In 2022, a book was launched to coincide with Windrush Day (22 June). It tells the stories and experiences of the Windrush generation and their children in 1960s and 1970s Britain alongside accounts of what the Methodist Church did to support them.

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