Welsh Congregational Chapel

The first services conducted in the Welsh language in London were held at the English Congregational church in Cook Lane, Smithfield in 1774. A Welsh chapel was built in 1785 in Wilderness Row and soon after a second Welsh service began to be conducted in Gravel Lane, Borough. These were held under the auspices of the Welsh Chapel in Wildnerness Row but soon afterwards a split occurred between the two congregations as the one in Wilderness Row became purely Methodist and the one in the Borough became purely Congregational.

The Borough congregation opened a Chapel in Great Guildford Street in 1807 and David Simon Davies ordained as its first Minister in 1811. When the lease of the site expired in 1866, the congregation had to move out but after much fund raising and receipt of generous donations were able to buy the freehold of the land. The existing Chapel was built in 1872 but this new Chapel, instead of fronting onto Great Guildford Street like the original chapel, now faced the other way and fronted on to Southwark Bridge Road which had been built in the intervening years. The building is Grade II listed and has been described by the National Monuments Register website as "A remarkably well preserved example, both inside and out, of a Welsh Chapel of the Valleys" .

Reflecting the times in which it was built, there are two entrances, one for men and one for women. Also reflecting those times is the almost biblical plaque that reads like an eleventh commandment set into the fabric of the building at the rear.

The Chapel is still thriving and bilingual services are held three or four times a month. For full details see http://welshchapel.com/

Welsh Chapel