Manor Drive Methodist Church

Friern Barnet / Whetstone


In the 1930's many new houses were being built in Friern Barnet and a number of people who were members of Churches in the Highgate had moved into the area. The Circuit therefore decided that there should be a Methodist Church in Friern Barnet.

Unfortunately the venture had a false start. A site chosen at the corner of Friern Barnet Lane and Torrington Park could not be used as it was discovered that only residential property could be built on that land. A little later a local resident who became one of our original members was wheeling her daughter in her pram around the Church Farm Estate, where new houses were being built saw a vacant plot at the corner of Manor Drive and York Way and suggested to all those concerned that it would be a suitable location for the new Methodist Church.

Much activity followed with money-raising, building etc and in September 1917 when the Church was nearly complete the Reverend George Cornforth was appointed as a Minister of the Highgate Circuit with pastoral charge of Manor Drive.

Mr. Cornforth began visiting local residents with Methodist connections and by the time the Church was Opened in January 1938 there was a nucleus of' about fifty members mostly from other Churches in the Hiqhgate Circuit.

Growth came to an abrupt halt with the outbreak of war in September 1930, and a number of members and children were evacuated. Luckily the Church building suffered no bomb damage and the work continued on a reduced scale. In September 1954 the Reverend Leonard Tudor became Minister and started to build up the work and the membership. There was a flourishing Youth Club from1945 onward and in 1947 the Boys' Brigade and the’Girls‘Brigade companies were formed.

It became increasingly difficult to cater for all the various activities in the Church and in 1948 it came possible to acquire an ex-Army hut which was erected in the car park in Manor Drive. In 1949 the musical side of our war-ship was enhanced by the erection of the organ.

In 1954 a Wolf Cub pack was started which in time grew up into Scout Group. We were still desperately short of space but at that time all new buildings were subject to a licensing system and priority was rightly' given to residential building. However, at last, these restrictions were lifted and so in 1955. We were able to plan for our new hall, kitchen and upstairs rooms and these were opened in June 1956.

Growth continue; and a new group was formed about. This time for mothers of young children it was called the Young Wives' Club. In the early 1960's further building took place with the erection of the caretaker's flat with storage rooms beneath.

All this history has been talking about the development of buildings, but the buildings would not have been needed or- made possible without the loyal and devoted service of our members and adherents over the years. Whilst our number has declined from the peak in the 1960's the work and worship continues and as we look back with thankfulness over- the fifty years from 1938 we look forward 'in faith to the next Fifty years.

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