Papers of Southcroft Hall, Streatham

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 SHS
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      0.5 lm
  • Location
      Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

The collection contains documents relating to the day to day administration of the Hall and the worshippers in attendance, including minutes and correspondence of the elders and trustees, deeds and other official documents. There are circulars produced for worshippers, leaflets advertising services and other activities, souvenir booklets and newsletters. The collection would be of value to anyone interested in the day to day activities of a Brethren congregation, and the ups and downs of such a congregation in the course of the twentieth century.

Administrative / Biographical History

The original Southcroft Hall was built in 1907. It was built in the parish of Streatham, South London, which today forms a part of the London Borough of Lambeth. Independent prayer meetings had been held at the house of Fred W. Davis from around the turn of the century. A solicitor, Mr. McKean, enabled the purchase of the land for the Hall with a gift of £500, with a local builder Mr. Thorp, providing £100. The rest of the cost was met through a mortgage which had been repaid by 1921.The congregation expanded in the nineteen twenties, and the large numbers of children attending the Wednesday evening meetings and the Sunday School necessitated the building of a larger Hall, completed in 1929.

For much of the century the Gospel was preached from the Hall in the spirit of independent worship associated with the Brethren tradition. Links were established with missionaries working in the field, and much work was done with children through the organisation of 'Covenanters'.

Decline set in in the 1980s. In order to continue with their work, they joined a chain of churches in South East London, ICHTHUS. There was major restoration work on the Hall following fungal infestation in 1957 and 1990. The latter expense exhausted the Hall's remaining funds, after which ICHTHUS maintained the Hall. The Hall ceased to be used for worship in the early 1990s, but the trusteees continued to be responsible for the Hall until the beginning of the twenty first century.


The papers have been divided into the following series:

  • Minutes and Roll Books
  • Accounts
  • Historical and Printed Items
  • Administrative Documents
  • Later Accessions

The Later Accessions have been further subdivided into:

  • Correspondence
  • Leaflets
  • Pamphlets
  • Administrative documents
  • Membership lists

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018. Under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for archiving and research purposes, including sensitive personal data. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Acquisition Information

The later accessions were donated to the Library by Frederick Holmes.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The bulk of the papers were deposited with the Universtiy some time ago and their history is not known.

The later accessions were in the possession of Frederick Holmes who inherited them from his father Frederick George Holmes, a member and elder of the Church from 1939 to c.1985, on his death in 2001.


None expected.


Tim Grass, Gathering to his name: the story of the open brethren in Britain and Ireland (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2006)

90 Years On. A Celebration of 90 years Witness at Southcroft Hall. 6th April 1907 - 25th October 1997