When a young woman living near Croydon opened the door of her home to a small girl in 1869 she set in motion a train of events, which led to the establishment of Brighton Road Baptist Church (BRBC). BRBC celebrate its 124th anniversary this year. The story is told in an unusual history of the church published to mark the centenary of the church in 1994. The small girl covered in dust, asked for a glass of water.

The young woman, a Mrs Buckwell, had recently become a Christian and so took the opportunity to tell the child a story about Jesus.   She invited the girl to come again, bringing her friends, and so a Sunday school began. Soon the numbers outgrew Mrs Buckwell’s small cottage and an iron hall was then built in Purley Downs Road. Not long afterwards a London City Missionary, Walter Schwind, came to the district and joined forces with Mrs Buckwell.

A Sunday morning children’s service was started which while retaining its character resulted in a number of baptisms.

In 1894 Miss Rebecca Watney gave the buildings and the site in Trust for Baptist work and BRBC was formed, the stoned building we still use for worship was completed in 1901. This story behind the founding of the church was included in a manuscript prepared by Mr Schwind in the 1920s in which he told the history of the church’s first thirty years. This was later published by the church as an elegant little book, illustrated with old photographs, to commemorate the church’s centenary.

It was a simple act of kindness by Mrs Buckwell, which led to the formation of our church.