The graph shows that numbers steadily rose under the first pastor and then after a blip until 1919. Thereafter there is a slow decline, that at least levels off from around 1983. The graph would support the view that after the first world war church attendance declined. People then assume that it was the war that was the problem. However, a well known saying in statistics is that correlation is not causation. The damage had been done before the war came along.
This obituary appeared in the Baptist Union Handbook for 1890
RICKARD, WILLIAM THOMAS.—This devoted servant of the Master will be remembered by many as the founder of the Church at Child's Hill, London, N.W. He was born near Plymouth, 16th June, 1836, and was called to his rest 21st January, 1896. His early years were spent in connection with the Church of England, of which body his parents were members. In 1856 he removed to West Cornwall, where shortly afterwards he was converted in a Wesleyan Chapel. He became at once a teacher in the Sunday School, and was afterwards superintendent; he was also frequently engaged as a local preacher. He was appointed to the East Cornwall circuit in 1860, but in consequence of ill-health he resigned, and visited friends in London. Whilst with them he was asked to take Sunday services at Hunton Bridge. This led to an invitation to the pastorate, and there he toiled successfully for three years and a half. In 1865 he removed to Hampstead, to help in Mission work connected with Heath Street Church. Whilst so occupied he visited Child's Hill, although it was out .of his district, and was greatly, impressed with the then neglected condition of the village. He obtained permission occasionally to visit the neighbourhood, and ultimately devoted his whole time to the district. He received his support from the late Mr. James Harvey, of Hampstead. As the work prospered and grew very rapidly, in October, 1865, a room was taken for Sunday services, then a Mission Hall, and in 1870, five years from the commencement; the present building was erected, in which Mr. Rickard continued to minister until 1894. He was a man who felt very deeply his responsibility, and for many years it was his custom to seclude himself for an hour every day, in his vestry, to plead.with God specially, on behalf of the neighbourhood. He was a powerful evangelistic preacher, and hundreds were converted under his ministry. The following is an extract from The Christian: "His peculiar power lay. in his pastoral work; while health permitted he was ever busy from house to house, cheering and comforting the sorrowing, whether belonging to his flock or not, and exhorting the careless to flee from the wrath to come. Thus he was a man greatly beloved by the people for his self-denying labours and untiring energy on their behalf. The last two or three years of his life were spent in much suffering, which, necessitated his retirement some eighteen months ago."
An organ was erected to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of his work at Child's Hill, and at the end of twenty-five years a testimonial and a cheque for 200 guineas were presented to him. This short notice cannot be better concluded than with a quotation from the tablet placed to his memory in the Chapel:—
"Brave, true, devout, diligent,
In labours unwearied.
He won all hearts
By opening to them his own." - J. M.
This obituary appeared in the Baptist Union Handbook for 1943
POULTON, JAMES SYLVESTER, was born at Dalston, London, on 9th February, 1861. He was trained for the ministry at Spurgeon's College. His first pastorate was at Winslow, Bucks, from 1885 to 1889, and his second at Coate, Oxfordshire, from 1889 to 1894. In February, 1882, he conducted a very successful mission at Child's Hill Church, then under the ministry of the Rev. W. Rickard. So great an impression did the young minister make that, twelve years later, when Mr. Rickard resigned, he suggested that Mr. Poulton should become his successor. The Church agreed, and Mr. Poulton began his ministry there on 9th December, 1894. His influence grew with the years, for he was one of the kindliest of men, was absolutely sincere and never too busy to undertake new responsibilities. His name became a household word in the district, and for thirty-five years he remained minister of the Church. In 1914 Mr. Poulton took a vigorous lead in the task of entertaining Belgian refugees. On the occasion of the Jubilee of the Church, in 1927, warm tributes were paid to his ministry. Two years later Mr. Poulton, to the great regret of his people, resigned his ministry owing to advancing years. Mr. Poulton was called to the presidency of the Western Group of the London Baptist Association, and later became a life member of the committee. He took an active part in all interdenominational work in the area. He was a member of the Hendon Education Committee, and served for an unbroken period of forty-four years. He was also a governor of the Hendon and Kingsbury County Schools. He died on 30th March, 1942, leaving a widow, four sons and a daughter. His courteous personality and devotion to duty endeared him to all and he left behind a fragrant memory. - E.K.A. (ie E K Alexander)
This short obituary appeared in the Baptist Union Handbook for 1958
ALEXANDER, ERNEST KENNARD, was born in Newport, Mon., on December 26th, 1886. He attended Charles Street Baptist Church. In 1911 he entered Harley College to train as a missionary. In 1915 he went, under the auspices of the Regions Beyond Missionary Union, to the Belgian Congo, where he served for ten years. He developed a large Mission Station with a church of three hundred native Christians at Ikau, Upper Congo. He was a gifted linguist, engineer and teacher. In 1919 he married Miss Florence Gertrude Clarke, a trained nursing sister, who joined him in Africa, but the death of their daughter and illness of their son forced them to return. In 1926 he became Pastor of Higham's Park Baptist Church, and in 1928 moved to Childs Hill Baptist Church where he remained until his retirement in March, 1953. He passed his final examinations for the Baptist ministry in March, 1934, and was enrolled in the Ministerial List of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland. During his ministry he was President of the Hampstead Free Church Council, President of the Western Group of the London Baptist Association and President of the North Western Group of the London Baptist Association. He was a chaplain at Golders Green Crematorium for over 25 years and Non-conformist representative in the Hendon Rotary Club for a similar period. He passed away on the 11th June, 1957, survived by his wife and son. — F.H.A. (Frederick H Alexander, Alexander's son)
Childs Hill Baptist Church
and down between 190-196
down by 10 or 12