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Christ Church

Grafton Road, Worthing
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Christ Church (as recorded at www.british-history.ac.uk)

CHRIST CHURCH and its burial ground between Grafton and Portland roads were consecrated in 1843, mainly to supply the want of church accommodation for the poor. The church was at first regarded as a chapel of ease to Broadwater, whose rector in 1849 required the officiating minister to take the town under his spiritual care. The rector of Broadwater remained the patron in 1974. A parish was assigned out of Broadwater in 1855, and a perpetual curate licensed. The cure became a vicarage in 1868. With help from Queen Anne's Bounty a house for the incumbent was built in Westbrooke by 1859. In 1975 the vicarage was in Shakespeare Road.

In 1851 c. 380 attended the morning and evening services. In 1865 400 sittings were ordinarily let besides 42 seats in the chancel at the height of the season. In 1884 there were two Sunday services and an afternoon service for the children, but the congregation had been reduced, partly by the building of Holy Trinity church. In 1976 the church was described as the parish church of Worthing. A mission hall holding 100 was recorded in 1903, and services were held there thrice weekly in 1910.

Christ Church was built by subscription between 1840 and 1843. The original design by John Elliott of Chichester was apparently altered by the curate of St. Paul's, as a result of strong criticism by the Cambridge Camden Society, and there were disputes between Elliott, the curate, and the rector of Broadwater who had given the site. The church, the first example of the Gothic Revival in Worthing, is of flint with brick dressings, and originally consisted of a chancel, aisled nave, transepts, west tower, and vestry. Galleries were built in the transepts in 1865-6, and the church was restored and improved in 1876. In 1894 the chancel arch was re-designed and other alterations were made. The church was again restored in 1908.

Christ Church Schools

For some years before 1814 the wife of the rector of Broadwater ran a Sunday school for girls. A girls' day school opened under her patronage in 1815 was also supported by the Revd. W. Davison and had c. 160 girls in 1818. It had become a National school by c. 1823. It stood at the corner of North Street and Chapel Road in 1824 when needlework and occasionally straw-plaiting were taught. In 1833 the school had 84 pupils and was supported by subscriptions and weekly payments. There were 69 pupils c. 1847 and 130 by 1859 when the building had become inadequate. The school appears to have occupied the Chapel Street infants' school for a short time before being replaced by the Worthing Church of England girls' and infants' school.

Two infants' schools were started in 1815, mainly through the efforts of the Revd. W. Davison, and were claimed to be among the earliest in England. By 1818 each had c. 40 children, both were National schools by 1825, and one at least was at first on the site later occupied by the girls' National school. The two schools were on separate sites in 1833, when they were supported by subscriptions and weekly payments. A building for one of the schools was erected on the east side of Chapel Street, later Portland Road, c. 1840, and in 1845 the other was in Chapel Road. About 1847 the Chapel Road school had 182 children, and the Chapel Street school 130. The Chapel Street school appears to have been absorbed into the Christchurch girls' and infants' school, and in 1853 the Chapel Road school was rebuilt as the Davison infant school as a memorial to the Revd. W. Davison (d. 1852). The Davison school's average attendance was 120 in 1862 when there was also a winter evening school. It became a girls' and infants' school in the late 1870s, with an average attendance of 260 in 1893. The infants were transferred to the Sussex Road council school c. 1907.

The Church Middle Class, later Christ Church, boys' school, recorded from c. 1862, occupied the building of the former Chapel Street National infants' school. (fn. 38) It first received an annual grant in 1875-6 when it had 43 pupils. Average attendance was 209 in 1887 and 238 in 1893.

The Worthing Church, later Christ Church, National girls' and infants' schools were housed in 1860 in an elaborate new Gothic building south of Christ Church which was paid for mainly by subscriptions. There were 115 girls and 170 infants in 1872 when the schools were supported by voluntary contributions and school pence. An annual grant was first received in 1873-4 when the average attendance was c. 200, as it was in 1893. Amid some controversy the Christ Church schools were transferred to the school board c. 1901 and were amalgamated as the Christ Church board school. The boys' department was closed in 1926, and by 1932 the school had become a junior mixed and infant school which had an average attendance of 152 in 1938. The school closed in 1942 when the children were transferred to the Holy Trinity, Heene, and Sussex Road schools. In 1977 the school buildings of 1860 were used as a furniture store and the former boys' school was the Christ Church church hall.

The Workman's Reading Room or Institute

The Workman's Reading Room or Institute in Montague Street was founded before 1859 by the incumbent of Christ Church, providing coffee, books, newspapers, lectures, and music. In 1904 it moved to a new site in Buckingham Road near by, and in 1925 changed its name to the Working Men's Club and Institute. It survived in 1977.

The Worthing Messenger and Workmen's Friend

Between 1856 and 1862 the incumbent of Christ Church edited a monthly periodical, the Worthing Messenger and Workmen's Friend, which was supported by subscriptions and circulated free among the poor.

Summer Concert

Sun. 11 June 2017


Assembly Hall, Worthing

Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra

Kodaly, Harry Janos Suite
Berlioz, Symphony Fantastique

A Night at the Opera

Sat. 24 June 2017


The Angmering School

Angmering Chorale

To advertise your local event in this space call 264409

Christ Church, Worthing
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