There have been Baptist Churches in England since the early 17th Century. Due to the refusal of Baptists to become members of the Church of England, they were called Dissenters and persecuted for their belief in religious freedom.

Baptists in Gateshead

The first evidence of a Baptist presence on Tyneside is the record of a Baptist preacher in Newcastle in 1651. The following year mention is made of Mr. Thomas Gower who was leading a flourishing congregation. In 1823, the Tuthill Stairs congregation first opened a Baptist Sunday School in Gateshead, which met in Pipewellgate then moved to the Mechanics Institute in West Street, Gateshead.

Beginnings of Durham Road Baptist Church

On Sunday 15 April 1877 the first Baptist Church was formally constituted with 38 members and on 12 September of the same year the foundation stone for Durham Road Baptist Church was laid. The present hall was the first part of the building to be constructed and the first services were held there on the first Sunday in December 1877. The church buildings were completed the following year and the opening service took place on Sunday 23rd June 1878. In 1904 the Church membership had grown to 379.

 Opening of a new Baptist Church

In the 1950s, a group of members from Durham Road Baptist Church started a Sunday School in the Beacon Lough area where new housing development had taken place. As the work grew, Church Services were held on Sundays in a rented scout hut at the foot of Beacon Lough Bank. By 1963, it was decided that Beacon Lough Baptist Church should be founded as a church in its own right. This became reality with the opening of a church in Southend Road in 1968.

Into the Future

Many events and uplifting occasions have taken place since then. In 2002 Durham Road Baptist Church celebrated it 125th aniversary. We praise God that He continues to inspire people to come and worship and serve Him today.

Being Baptist – Called, Gathered, Sent

Find out more

More on the history of the Baptist Church in England can be found on the Baptist Union website and on the religions page of the BBC website.