Balham Baptist Church

life in diversity


You Don't Look A Day Over...

Balham Baptist Church began life back in 1874 when Balham was a described as a "beautiful village" and Ramsden Road was not more than a "muddy street little built upon". How times have changed! 

Balham today is fully enveloped in the city with the church buildings close to the busy high road, shops, tube and railway station – some would still say it’s beautiful though.

Growing Up

Original Building

As a church we grew up through the early twentieth century, with the community 

flourishing and growing.The buildings were developed, creating a large hall, and the church adopted a thriving Sunday School in Clapham Park – at one point there were over one thousand members in the church! 

New people and perspectives joined the church community in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, with a strong influx into the area from the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. We have tried to embrace anyone who would come and worship God with us. On this pathway we have seen prejudice at work within society (as well as within church communities, including our own) and we continue exploring how differing viewpoints can bring new revelations of God and everyday life.

Modern-day multicultural London offers incredible opportunities for church communities to be influenced by people’s pursuit of God from across cultures and perspectives. We do our best to try and listen to the experiences and insights of others, anticipating that there will always be more to learn as we journey together!

Rebuilt Church 1949

A Faithful and Innovative God

We have seen God’s faithfulness through challenging circumstances. The two World Wars impacted the church family deeply, and in the years following World War I the premises were redeveloped to include a significant Memorial Building as a mark of respect and remembrance.

In 1949 the main worship space was destroyed almost entirely by fire due to an electrical fault, which brought significant upheaval. But after five years the rebuilding was complete and church life continued on new pathways. 

Similarly, the Covid-years of 2020-2021 caused great difficulty and sadness within church life. Yet as we have emerged from this season we have found new ways of connecting and journeying together online. Sunday livestreaming and online prayer times now allow for more connection than ever before.

Following God's Call

Current Buildings

As a community we have sought to follow God’s leading in new endeavours. This has included the repeated reshaping of our buildings and activities for community use – such as Acorn our toddler playgroup (which has been running for over forty years!), and a daily Pensioners’ Centre which ran for almost thirty years – as well as the planting of a new church congregation, All Nations on Poynders Road, in 1957.

In recent years this has led to the redeveloping of the buildings to improve accessibility and to make our facilities a welcoming and open space. In 2019 we opened The Hub – a coffee space for people to connect with one another while they engage with the buildings. This has continued to grow and grow, with every hot drink sold supporting Ella’s – working with the survivors of trafficking and exploitation.

Following the fire in 1949 the new phase of church life was described as “standing in dignity and beauty…[looking] forward to faith in the future”

We hope we haven’t strayed too far from this since then!

1873 - 1874
Memorial stone laid
First services held.
Sunday School meets for first time.
Trust Deed formally constitutes 'Balham Baptist Church'.

Ramsden Hall built.

Clapham Park Sunday School adopted.

Memorial Building (for Great War) opens.

Church building destroyed by fire - the cause believed to be an electrical fault. Ramsden Hall and Memorial Building suffer less damage.

Rebuilt church opens for worship.

Daughter church formed.

Ramsden Lounge opens.

Pensioner's Centre opens.

Building re dedicated after extensive refurbishment and decoration.

Website launched.

Leadership Team developed

Buildings refurbished creating a new entrance and foyer joining the church 

Leadership Team developed

The Hub coffee space opens.                   

COVID Lockdowns – online church via YouTube/Zoom 

Church gatherings in the buildings restart – with live streaming