The Baptist Church in Torquay was formed on 4th January 1832 by twelve members who met in a large room in Swan Street, although the members had been meeting there for some years without being constituted a church. The church moved from Swan Street to a large room in Braddons Hill Road West at the rear of nos 9 & 10 Fleet Street, this was the same room as the Wesleyan Sunday School were using.
On 12th December 1837 the foundation stone was laid for a chapel in Temperance Street , the place being called the "Ebenezer Chapel", it was enlarged three times to meet the ever increasing need. This building still stands having been bought by the Primitive Methodists in 1863 and used by them until their new Market Street Church was ready, then it had various uses as a furniture store etc. today it has been renovated and is now used by a help organisation for the homeless. Impossible to photograph today because of redevelopment in the area.
The need for larger premises made it necessary to look for a new site and one was duly purchased in St Marychurch Road and on 25th March 1862 the foundation stone of a large building complex was laid at Upton Vale.
It was completed and opened in 1863. The location of the site allowed for a large schoolroom to be built under the chapel and the Sunday School at this time had nearly 400 pupils.
Under the wing of Upton Vale came the smaller baptist chapels at Hele, & Barton.
Hele Road Baptist Church
This was started by a group of young men who originally, at their own expense, hired a room in order to "Proclaim the Gospel" and also start a Sunday School. They later built a Sunday School Centenary Memorial Room, with the foundation stones being laid on 12th July 1880 and opened later that same year,this is the building known today as Hele Road Baptist Church. For a time it was under the care of Upton Vale but eventually became independent. Still in use.
The actual date of the founding of a Baptist Church in Barton is unknown but it certainly preceeded Torquay, In 1884 the few remaining members decided to amalgamate with Upton Vale. But this little chapel continued in use until around 1946- today it still stands and is converted to a cottage.
An Undated interior view of Barton Baptist chapel.
Originally thought to have been of the Barton weslyan Chapel but information has since come to light that this was incorrect
In 1946 a bungalow was bought on the junction of Barton Hill Road and Happaway Road, very close to St Martin's Parish Church. The story of the development on this site would fill volumes, much of the work was carried out by members of the congregation, and today after years of work extending, demolishing and rebuilding there stands this building.
Return to Church index
Return to front page