To understand the origins of Hillsborough Baptist Church it is necessary to look at how the City of Sheffield was developing to the north in the latter part of the 19th century i.e. roughly from the year 1855 to 1900.
However, firstly, it may be useful to define the area we mean by the name ‘Hillsborough’. A useful definition is given by Helen Mathers in the preface to the book ‘Hillsborough by Her People’, 1983 (© Hillsborough Community Development Trust) as follows:
‘the boundaries of ‘Hillsborough’ are Penistone Road, Wood Street, Whitehouse Lane, Walkley Road, Walkley Bank, Dykes Lane, Leppings Lane, Herries Road North and the railway lines.’
In the same book Stanley Davey writes:
‘The Ordnance Survey of 1855 shows that the area we are discussing was very sparsely populated with little clusters of houses in widely separated hamlets. There were no roads off Langsett Road which was designated on the map as ‘The New Road’ between Whitehouse Lane and Holme Lane, nor were there any roads off what is now Middlewood Road and between Holme lane and Wadsley Lane.
Holme Lane was bounded by fields having no roads across them, and Walkley Lane ran through open fields to join Whitehouse lane on top of the hill at Walkley, and Cross Lane which today is known as Morley Street ran across the fields to Walkley Bank. Several farms were dotted about the area, one on Dykes Lane called Old Lings Farm, Old Hall Farm at the end of Borough Road, and Rawson Spring Farm on the upper part of what is now the new Langsett Estate.’
Although the whole area was devastated by the Flood of 1864 (when the dam wall at Dale Dyke reservoir, Bradfield burst and 250 people died) the Hillsborough area started to be built up in the 1860s and 1870s. Because of the building of heavy steel and engineering works in Attercliffe there was a much greater demand for suburban housing than previously.
The majority of Hillsborough’s housing was built by speculative builders and this includes the houses built on the roads surrounding the land on which the Church was eventually built in 1894. A number of other churches had already been built in the area; Hillsborough Wesleyan Reform 1875, St. John’s Owlerton 1876 and Owlerton Methodist 1878. By 1892 the layout of roads in Hillsborough was very much as we know it today, although some names are now different, and much of the housing had been built.
The book ‘The Baptists of Yorkshire’ has a short piece about the church at Hillsborough which includes the following:
‘The Hillsborough Church occupies an excellent position in a growing working class suburb. Some members of Townhead and Portmahon, resident in the district, gathered for worship, in 1885, in a room, in Taplin Road.’
So these are the origins of the church we know today. The group which first met in 1885 built a church on the site at the corner of Taplin Road and Hawthorn Road in 1894. The first pastor, Rev. A. G. Haste was shared with Walkley but when it became clear that all of his time was needed at Walkley, Rev. A. McKittrick was called to be minister at Hillsborough. A troubled period followed and the pastor and a number of members left to start a mission in the vicinity (Hillsborough Tabernacle). In 1900 Rev. C.J. Rendell became pastor and remained in office until 1917.
A schoolroom was built in 1905 opposite the church in Hawthorn Road. Just before the start of the Great War (1914-1918) it became obvious that the original church building was not big enough and plans were made to replace it. The building we know today was opened in 1915.
Happenings at Hillsborough 1893 to 1928
1893 On 12th Feb 1893 Hillsborough Baptist Church was officially formed and the Rev A McKittrick was appointed minister on 23 October.
1894 The opening meeting for the new church was held on 27th December. At this time the Sunday school had 16 scholars and 18 teachers.
1895 The first baptism was held in the church on Wednesday 2nd January.
1896 Rev McKittrick resigned as pastor.
1897 Rev McKittrick left Hillsborough and the Rev F C M Buck was inducted.
1898 By now the Sunday school was outgrowing the church building so much that plans were being discussed to build a schoolroom across the road.
1899 The school library was formed and the Rev Knowles Kempton settled at Hillsborough.
1900 Rev Buck moved to Chesterfield and Rev C J Rendell began a long pastorate at Hillsborough.
1901 A course of instruction began for the Sunday school teachers. By now the young men’s class also needed more room.
1902 The Sunday school grew so much that 650 hymn sheets were needed for the Whit sing.
1903 Building for the new school room began and this year the pastor formed a brotherhood.
1904 The Brotherhood proved to be very popular and had an average attendance of 350 men.
1905 On 2nd July the new school building was opened. The Sunday school continued growing and children under 4 years old could no longer be admitted. 900 hymn sheets were needed for Whitsuntide.
1906 Children of the Sunday school adopted a boy in the Congo and a girl in India.
1907 No scholars admitted under the age of 8 years now. Those under were housed in the old chapel.
1908 The Lifeboys’ Brigade was formed and led by S W D Capper
1912 The Sunshine Committee was formed whose job it was to visit the sick.
1913 The congregation outgrew the chapel and so it was decided to erect a larger building on the same site. The Rev Rendell spent 6 months as a missionary in the West Indies.
1914 The foundations were laid for a new church. War came and many people were called up; and as a result the building work was delayed.
1915 Despite delays the church was ready for a grand open day on Thursday 27th May when the first organ was installed from Townhead Street Baptist church.
1916 In October a mission was held in Limbrick Lane.
1917 The Rev Rendell moved to Hull.
1918 The church saw some very hard times during the war but celebrations came as the church had its 25th anniversary. Rev Wm Walker came to Hillsborough in this year.
1919 The church gave gifts for famine relief and hospitals.
1920 The Sunday School sent gifts to the Serbian Relief fund.
1921 The Christmas Day offerings were sent to the Stockwell Orphanage.
1922 Reggie Dixon who was a Church Member and also very famous for playing the organ at Blackpool Tower was asked to be the church organist.
1924 Posters were distributed advertising the Harvest Gathering; there were to be no refreshments but an admission of 6d was asked.
1925 The Girls Life Brigade was formed on Wednesdays between 7pm and 9pm and was led by Mrs Horsfield.
1926 The pastor helped with the work of the Bamford Street mission.
1928 The Rev Walker left to go to Pinchbeck near Spalding.
Hillsborough Baptist Church Ministers
|Reverend A. McKittrick||1893||1896|
|Reverend F. C. M. Buck||1897||1899|
|Reverend K. Kempton||1899||1900|
|Reverend C. J. Rendell||1900||1917|
|Reverend W. Walker||1918||1928|
|Reverend J. W. Titherington||1929||1934|
|Reverend J. G. Douglas||1934||1946|
|Reverend W. H. Farrow||1946 Feb.||1956|
|Reverend P. Brown||1956 Sep.||1961|
|Reverend J. A. Burden||1961 Sep.||1965|
|Reverend A. F. Baker||1966||1971|
|Reverend J. Wilthew||1973 Sep.||1979 May|
|Reverend A.S. Cooper||1980 Feb.||2003|
|Reverend N. J. Draisey||2004 Oct.||2012 Nov.|
|Reverend C. Hawley||2015 May|