Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Ken Johnson, September 2008
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses – Rushden

Kingdom Hall, Shirley Road, in 2008

A Brief History

A British branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses was established on 23rd April 1900 at 131 Gipsy Lane, Forest Gate, East London.  At that time there were less than 200 Witnesses in the whole country.  Over the years there has been a steady increase countrywide until today there are about 130,000 in Britain.  A small group of Witnesses arrived in Rushden during the 1940s including Ethel and Amy Heart (sisters) and Arthur and Ruby Baker.  A tiny meeting room was acquired in Newton Road in what is now a car showroom.  The congregation grew in number so that during the ’50s the meeting place was changed to a larger room in the Adult School at Westfield Terrace, Higham Ferrers.  Eventually it became necessary to think about a larger more suitable building.  In 1969 a new Kingdom Hall was built, mostly by congregation members, in an orchard adjacent to what was once the gas works in Shirley Road, Rushden.  This hall, that seated about 120, served the needs of the congregation until pressure of numbers made it necessary to think of something more extensive.

It was decided, in 1992, to knock the existing hall down and build something more substantial and modern.  The congregation considered a new rapid construction technique to build their hall.  Witnesses in America and Canada had been using this “quickly build” method for some time, but the technique was first used in Britain in the autumn of 1983 at Weston Favell when a group of experienced construction workers (Witnesses) from the USA and Canada, together with local congregation members, built their Kingdom Hall in just four days!  During the spring and summer of 1992 the old hall at Rushden was demolished and new foundations laid, after which hundreds of volunteers from Rushden and neighbouring congregations worked together to build the present Kingdom Hall in one weekend.  The hall can seat about 200 and this year (2008) has undergone a substantial refurbishment.  There are at present about 140 active congregation members.  The hall is different from that of mainstream churches.  It is a modest functional building with no religious images, crosses or altars.  Instruction is given from a lectern on a low platform and with the aid of a sound system.  As well as the main hall there is also a smaller ancillary room and a separate congregation reference library.  The congregation meets twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays, and all meetings are free.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are keen to contact people in every situation of life with the Bible’s Good News.  To that end many Witnesses from the surrounding areas learnt sign language and formed a second congregation in 2006 that currently shares the Kingdom Hall with the original Rushden Congregation.  This new group is named the Rushden Sign Language Congregation.  Members are concerned primarily with meeting deaf people to engage them in Bible discussion and invite interested ones to meetings at the Kingdom Hall.  Consequently, all their meetings are conducted in British sign language.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Churches & Chapels index
Click here to e-mail us