Catholicism and Non Conformity

As shown in maps of the area in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the initial developers of our part of North London did not include any new Church of England churches in their plans for the new Camden Town. However, other denominations were able to respond more quickly and flexibly to the urban expansion of the era. Many of the Roman Catholic clergy who had fled the French Revolution in 1792 settled in Somers Town – Abbé Chantrel built a chapel there in 1798 and Abbé Carron replaced it with a larger building on Phoenix Road only ten years later, the ancestor of the present-day St Aloysius Church.

The 1808 RC chapel in Somers Town, circa 19521.

A Baptist from a congregation at Walworth (now in South London) came to Somers Town to preach in the open-air in 1795 and two years later opened a chapel on Brill Street (near the present site of the Crick Institute), which later moved into a former episcopal church on Wilsted Street (now the stretch of Ossulston Street alongside the British Library) and renamed itself Bethel Baptist Chapel. An Independent Chapel was founded on Kentish Town Road in 1807, converting into a Congregational Church three years later. In 1810 Tonbridge Chapel was founded on the site of what is now O’Neill’s pub, at the corner of Euston Road and Judd Street opposite the British Library. In 1821 the Wesleyans (now known as Methodists) began to hold meetings in rooms in the Camden Town area and three years later leased a former lint factory in Little King Street (now Kings Terrace), converting it into a chapel with room for 150.