The Bishop of Dover, Rt Revd Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin was a special guest at the 150th anniversary celebrations for St Paul’s Church in Cliftonville last Sunday (June 25).
The church held a celebration service to mark the milestone. The ‘Songs of Praise’ type service included old and new worship music and those present gave thanks for the past and look forward with excitement, to serving the parish in the next 150 years.
The service was described as ‘joyful’ and ‘uplifting’ and had flag waving throughout and children blowing bubbles during the last song.
Churchwarden Vyvette Dow said: “One of the highlights, certainly, was the attendance of the wonderful Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Bishop of Dover, who, during her talk, gave great encouragement to the parish regarding their future mission.”
Also in attendance was fellow churchwarden Ian Wright and The Reverend Vicky Coneys.
St Paul’s Church was constructed 1872-73. During the 19th Century Margate was a destination favoured by middle-class Londoners, particularly after the establishment of a regular steamer service from London in 1815 and to a lesser extent after the opening of Margate Sands railway station in 1846.
Cliftonville developed from the 1860s to provide additional respectable accommodation and its own attractions such as the Clifton Baths dating from 1831.
By the 1870s a new church was felt to be necessary to serve the growing suburb. The memorial stone of St Paul’s Church was laid on 16 September 1872 and it was dedicated on 13 November 1873 by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
St Paul’s was an offshoot of Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Square (later demolished following bomb damage in World War Two) and was built, with a capacity for 800 worshipers, on land provided by a Mr TD Reeve and a Mr J Andrews.
The architect was RK Blessley of Eastbourne and it was built by Messrs Cooke and Green of London at a cost of £8,500, including boundary walls and vicarage. The tower was built later, possibly at the same time as the west window which has a dedication plate with a date of 1885.
The tower was certainly built by 1897 when a church bell and clocks were provided by subscription. The tower was extensively repaired in 1971.
The church and boundary walls were designated at Grade II in 2010.