Clevedon Quakers celebrate 150th anniversary of meeting house
PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 June 2018
A Quaker group is looking back at its remarkable history to mark 150 years since its home opened.
The Clevedon Quakers Meeting House opened its doors on July 5, 1868 and cost £500 to build – around £54,913 in today’s money.
Clevedon became a ‘tourist trap’ in the mid-19th century thanks to the steel pier and promenade and the need for a meeting house was then identified.
The work was funded by subscriptions which Quaker Friends paid a small donation into.
The committee was able to hire architect Hans Price, from Weston, to design the building and the land was leased from Sir Arthur Elton, of Clevedon Court. Thomas Hartree was hired to build the meeting house.
A Quaker spokesman said: “Through the years, as people came and went and the Quaker movement itself rose and fell in numbers, there have been peaks and valleys in our own attendance.
“These days we have a weekly attendance at meetings for worship of around 13-20.
“One thing is for sure, the meeting house will be here for some time yet, there will always be a warm welcome for visitors, with refreshments and a friendly chat after meetings.”
Over the past century and a half, the meeting house, in Albert Road, has had strong links with community groups in the town.
Springboard Opportunity Group, a charity for young children with disabilities and additional needs, started in the meeting house before moving to its premises in Princes Road.
Today the building is used by Alcoholics Anonymous, yoga groups and the Clevedon Adult Study Association.
In 1915, during World War One, the meeting house was used by the Young Men’s Christian Association.
The clerk at the time wrote: “This was received with much pleasure and appreciation and we have heard very encouraging accounts of the blessing attending it.”
During both wars the meeting house was used by the Friends’ Ambulance Unit to care for war victims where they treated the wounded and offered medical relief to civilian and military casualties.
To mark its 150th anniversary, the Quakers will host an open day on July 14 from 10am-4pm at the meeting house in Albert Road.