Built by Amon Henry Wilds in 1819
You may be familiar with the facade of The Unitarian Church’s Grade II Listed Building in New Road, right next the Royal Pavilion, the Theatre Royal and the Jubilee Library – all wonderful Brighton landmark buildings. But did you know that the Brighton Unitarian congregation has been around in various incarnations for more than two centuries?
Congregation dates from 1793
The congregation dates from 1793, when 19 people were expelled from a Baptist Church in Brighton for adopting Unitarian Universalist beliefs. In particular, they rejected the idea of predestination – that anyone God had not already picked for heaven was headed for everlasting Hell, no matter what they did on earth.
Land purchased from the Prince Regent
For a while the Unitarian congregation met in each other’s houses for worship and discussion and then occupied a chapel in Jew Street near the present church. In 1819 the congregation had grown sufficiently to buy a plot of land for the present church building. This was purchased for £650 from the Prince Regent. The land was part of the gardens of the Royal Pavilion.
Architect was Amon Henry Wilds
Dr Morell, a well-known classical scholar, was appointed as the first minister of the church. And, due in large part to his influence. the design of the church was inspired by the ancient Temple of Theseus. Its architect was Amon Henry Wilds – who built much of Brighton s fashionable Kemp Town. The church building was completed in August 1820.
Maintaining a sacred place
The Unitarians have respect for all faiths, coupled with a modern religious outlook that encourages freedom of individual thought and conscience. They are committed to maintaining a sacred space in the heart of Brighton and achieve this by letting the hall on a daily basis to local community groups, for a whole range of different activities. Services are held every Sunday at 11a.m. followed by light refreshments. Whether you have a particular faith or not you are welcome to attend. On the first Sunday of each month special provision is made for children.