Robert Hall History

History and architecture

old minute books

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Leicester was expanding rapidly. Street after street of terrace housing was being built to accommodate the city's growing population. The historic Baptist chapels in the city centre had built two new large churches and the Harvey Lane Chapel, near Highcross, determined to build a third, extending its ministry to the newly-developed West End of Leicester. Both William Carey, who went on to pioneer missionary work in India, and Robert Hall, a renowned preacher and human rights campaigner, had been ministers at Harvey Lane a century earlier.

Erected at a commanding road junction, the Robert Hall Memorial Chapel, an imposing brick building in the art nouveau style, opened in November 1901. Around 200 members of Harvey Lane Chapel transferred to this new church, which grew rapidly. By 1913, there were 813 scholars in the Sunday School and an extra Small Hall (known as the New Room until 2008!) was added at the rear. Many were baptised: adult membership peaked at 557 in 1937.

In those years before and just after the Second World War, the church owned land, had its own tennis club and drama society and competed in choral festivals. These early years are described in the 1902 First Church Manual and the 1961 Diamond Jubilee Handbook , (both of which include membership lists).

Since the 1960s, the area has become the home of successive waves of immigrants and also, due to our proximity to Leicester Royal Infirmary and the De Montfort University, of students.

We take advantage of our prominent position to display thought-provoking posters to motorists waiting at the traffic lights.


A former member, Kevin Brown, has also told our history through the biographies of the ministers who have served us in our first hundred or so years.

The church's extensive archive of Minute Books, Membership Rules and Yearbooks was entrusted to the Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Record Office in 2007.

Robert Hall Statistics
Membership Statistics of Robert Hall Baptist Church