It started in 1935 as a Sunday School in the home of Mrs. & Miss Jones, at the White House, on the corner of Great Central Avenue and Primrose Gardens; now the site of two bungalows. They were members of the newly opened West Way Gospel Hall, Ruislip Manor (now West Way Chapel). Mr. Cox, a member of West Way Gospel Hall, came to help and was later joined by Mr. Joslin who came from Plumstead. As the Sunday School outgrew the house they used Northolt Junction Institute; two World War 1 wooden huts, put together in a "T" formation, giving one long room and two small rooms at the top. No heating or sewage! and the rent was 1/- (5p) per session. The area around was all green fields with a few houses and bungalows mainly of wood and asbestos. The nearby station was then called South Ruislip and Northolt Junction, with only a wooden platform. Ruislip Manor station was a "Halt" with a shed as the building.
Sunday services as an outreach were started with Mr. Cox showing slides and pictures on his epidiascope which was carried in a trailer hooked behind his bike! 1939 saw the menfolk going to war, which, together with the blackout, made it difficult to hold services on a regular basis. The rent was now 15/2d (76p) per month. 7th September 1941 was the date that Deane Avenue Gospel Hall was started with the blessing of those at West Way Gospel Hall. But still no heating or sewage! Hymn books, forms for seating and some gas radiators were given from a bombed out chapel in Marylebone, by a Mr. Buck who lived in Hardy Avenue. A chemical toilet was purchased for half a crown-2/6d (12½p) and a small shed built to house it.
October 1941 - Mr. R. Blake was asked to help with the Young People.
7th July 1942 - Women's Meeting started.
13th October 1942 - Covenanters started.
20th April 1943 - First baptisms of 6 people, using West Way Gospel Hall's baptistry.
19th February 1944 - First Church Business Meeting: Weekly attendance 20 - 32, Sunday School 130, Covenanters 10. Average collection £1.11.7½d (£1.57p). Rent in 1945 for sole use was 9/6d (47p) per week.
In 1947 the buildings and land were offered for sale at £400, including solicitors' fees. A building fund started in 1945 had £340 in it; the remaining £60 was borrowed from members, interest free, and took 11 months to repay. A "New Building Fund" was started in February 1949 and by February 1951 it had grown to £230. Later in 1951 a major Christian builder offered to build a new church for £4,500, but with conditions. The offer was politely turned down.
After much prayer it was decided we would build the church ourselves. Mr. Joslin was a master bricklayer, others had some DIY skills. Building work would only proceed as we had the money for materials. The Elders were convinced that God would provide. Ted Joslin became known as "Pharoah" as he urged us on in the labouring. Fortunately, we did not have to make the bricks! In November 1951 Ruislip Northwood Council were approached with our outline plans, and they were very helpful. As a result of this the "men" of the fellowship were called together to discuss and agree the way forward, viz commitment.
In January 1952 the plans were approved provided no new timber or steel were required. The Ministry of Works licence also stated that the permission was granted on the basis that no labour other than the unpaid workers of the fellowship would be used in the construction. We were never in debt, and at the end when all the costs were added up, and allowing for speakers expenses, missionary allocations, etc., we had spent an average of £17 per week! The impossible (to us) target. Our God is faithful. We did everything ourselves, except laying the woodblock flooring in the main hall and ashfelting the flat roofs.
The new building was erected around the old huts so that we could keep using the building for services, etc. The hut roof, although sagging a lot, acted as staging to get to the upper parts of the new building. There were many answers to prayer for special materials, particularly as we could not have new wood or steel items. There was no pilferage even though the whole site was in the open. I must add, the ladies and the girls (now ladies) did a wonderful job with tea, as well as a lot of brick cleaning.
The first ever wedding, held in part of the old building and part in the new was on 12 May 1952 for Sid and Eunice Bewsey [photos]. 22nd October 1955 was the date of the official "Dedication" of the new church with ministers of other local churches taking part. The costs of the whole construction was £2165. How faithful is our God? Not too much, but just enough for our needs. We have moved on since then, always seeing God's hand at work and His faithfulness in supplying our needs right up to the present time in the support of our full-time pastors Brian Taylor and Phil Plattt, and currently, Oli Spence. I could go on for ages with a list of specific answers to prayers during the years of building, and since.
In 1975 Mr. James Cox wrote a feature for the church magazine, Fellowship Focus. It has been reproduced on the following page. Grateful thanks go to Mr. Cox's daughter Monica for searching out this account of the beginnings of the church in Deane Avenue, South Ruislip.
In 2009, mainly because of car parking restrictions introduced by the local authority in the neighbouring streets, the frontage of the church property was redesigned. The wall was removed and the area in front of the church paved to accept cars. The paving was sloped up to the step at the front door to improve access by wheelchairs and baby buggies, etc. A picture can be seen at the end of the following page.