Our History

Documentation of our meeting house's earliest historyClevedon was never a hugely populous place, but in the late Victorian era, thanks to a promenade and a fantastic steel pier, it became something of a tourist trap for the local bristolians wanting to get away from the bustle to more salubrious climes. As Clevedon grew a need for a local meeting house was identified. A committee was formed (Joseph Palmer, Richard Fry, Samuel Wedmore, Henry Catford) to make arrangements for building a meeting house in Clevedon. In order to pay for the fees, plans, contractors, land, etc... the committee set up a subscription, into which Quaker Friends from across the country paid small donations.

It took quite a while to collect the necessary money, so the purchase and subsequent bulding work was delayed. In total £615, 17 shillings was collected, and an excess of £13, 18 shillings and tuppence was borrowed from the bank. It was enough for the committee to hire architect Hans F. Price of Weston-super-mare to create a design, lease some land from Sir Arthur Elton, and in 1867 (5/8/1867) the committee hired local contractor Thomas Hartree to “build a house, boundary walls, and erect entrance gates for the sum of £500”, a sum that the contractor only exceeded by £12, 7 shillings and 10 pence.

It took several months to build the meeting house and was only just given a roof in time for winter, the interior wasn’t finished until the spring of 1868.

Originally, the meeting house was a single massive room, and was divided into two by the use of a rising shutter. This single room was capable of accommodating 150 worshipers, but on the day it opened, nearly a year after construction began (5/7/1868), the number of worshipers swelled to 200.

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. 

Our meeting is growing, but still a local affairThese days we are a fluctuating meeting of around 10-20, which in modern Quaker terms isn’t too bad! One thing is for sure, the meeting house will be here for some time yet, and whether we continue to grow, or attendance eventually falls off, there will certainly be someone willing to keep the fires burning, the tea brewing, and the door open as is the Quaker tradition.