Incorporated Church Building Society
(Annual Reports 1879-1932).
London, (Office of the Society) 1880-1933.
8vo. 50 (ex 54) annual reports for the period, comprising those for the years 1879-94 and 1899-1932. The set is bound in 8 vols., various contemporary or recent cloth bindings, numerous original printed wrappers bound in.
The Incorporated Church Building Society, founded in 1818 by the Anglican layman Joshua Watson, soon became the Church of England’s principal means of financing the building and restoration of its thousands of churches and chapels throughout England and Wales. Its very detailed annual reports document the source of even the smallest sums donated to the Society over the first century of its existence, and record every grant ever made for church building or restoration. Grants made from a separate “Mission Buildings Fund” are also listed and reveal the Society’s role in providing places of worship in new working class communities ; in 1880, for instance, the Society contributed to “fitting up an iron building for divine service” as St. Luke’s, Shepherd’s Bush, building the mission church of St. Peter the Fisherman, Brixham, Devon, and buying a dissenting chapel for use by an Anglican congregation in Monkwearmouth, Durham. For the earlier part of the period after 1879 the information in these reports supplements that given in the Society’s periodical The Church Builder, but publication of the Church Builder eventually ceased and the reports for the inter-war period contain architectural notes on individual churches and other news, illustrations and comment. This is the only extensive run of these reports that the present cataloguer has seen, and it should be noted that as each of the older reports in the run summarises donations and grants made from 1818 onwards, these volumes provide information on a much longer period of the Society’s history than that spanning the dates 1879-1932.