London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1823 - 1974

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of the Commonwealth and Continental Church Society relating to administrative, fund-raising and other supporting activities in the United Kingdom, as well as the Society's work overseas. Most date from after the establishment of the united society in 1851, but from the earlier period one minute book of the Colonial Church Society survives, besides printed annual reports of both predecessor societies (see Mss 15673 and 15718). This catalogue covers these administrative records. The records of Anglican chaplaincies in Europe, administered by the Society on behalf of the Diocese of London, and (from 1842) also for the Diocese of Gibraltar, are catalogued separately.

    The records of the Commonwealth and Continental Church Society, which include some records of both predecessor bodies, comprise: minutes 1839-42 and 1850-1965 (Mss 15673-80); financial records 1941-72 (Mss 15684-95); annual reports 1823-1962 (Mss 15718-22); diaries of services, meetings and preaching engagements 1941-67 (Mss 15696-9); scrapbooks 1933-70 (Mss 15701-2); list of chaplains 19th century (Ms 15700); papers relating to the work of the Society 1920-74 (Ms 15723); the Society's journal 1876-1959 (Ms 15726); minutes and reports of the Ladies' Association 1938-63 (Mss 15681-3); accounts, annual returns and register of members of Kenya Schools Ltd 1941-73 (Ms 15713-5); accounts and lists of shareholders of European, British and Colonial Land and Buildings Company Ltd 1940-73 (Ms 15716-7); and minutes and reports of auxiliary associations in Ireland, Bath, Bournemouth and Leeds 1908-64 (Mss 15724-5, 16941-2, 21467-8).
Extent: 190 production units
Classification: ASSOCIATIONS
Former Reference: MS 15673- 15702, MS 15713-26, MS 16941-2, MS 21467-8, MS 15713- 15726, MS 16941- 16942|MS 21467- 21468
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • The principal object of the society was the provision of Anglican evangelical clergymen, missionaries and schoolteachers for territories of the British Empire and Commonwealth overseas, and for communities of British residents on the continent of Europe.

    The society was founded in January 1851 by the uniting of two earlier societies. The first of these was the Colonial Church Society established in 1835 as Western Australia Missionary Society. Its name changed in 1836 to Australian Church Missionary Society, and in 1838 to Colonial Church Society. Its address at the time of the merger was 5 Exeter Hall, Strand.

    The second was the Newfoundland School Society established in 1823. Its name changed in 1829 to the Newfoundland and British North American Society for the Education of the Poor, and in 1846 to Church of England Society for the Education of the Poor in Newfoundland and the Colonies, but it was still frequently referred to as the Newfoundland School Society until 1850. Its address at the time of the merger was 4 Exeter Hall, Strand.

    The united society was known as the Colonial Church and School Society from 1851 to 1861, the Colonial and Continental Church Society from 1861 to 1958, and the Commonwealth and Continental Church Society from 1958 to 1979. In 1979 its name was changed to the Intercontinental Church Society.

    The Society's address was 4 Serjeants Inn, Fleet Street (1851-4); 9 Serjeants Inn, Fleet Street (1855-1941); 6 Salisbury Square EC4 (1942-5); 13 Victoria Street SW1 (1946-59); 7 York Buildings WC2 (1960-74); and 175 Tower Bridge Road SE1 (from 1975).

    The Society has operated in many parts of the world. The Newfoundland School Society was concerned solely with the provision of schools and schoolteachers in Newfoundland and (from 1838) other parts of Canada. The Colonial Church Society originally sent missionaries only to Australia, but its operations were extended to Canada in 1838, and to other British possessions, namely South Africa, the West Indies, Malta, India and Hong Kong, during the 1840s.

    The Colonial Church Society first took an interest in continental Europe in 1839, when it offered assistance to a clergyman in Italy. During the 1840s its continental operations were extended to France and the Netherlands.

    All these activities were taken over by the united Society in 1851. The continental work of the Society was extended to Germany and Switzerland in the 1850s, to Austria, Belgium, Spain and Turkey in the 1860s, and to Greece, Norway and Sweden in the 1870s.

    The Society's colonial operations were extended to Mauritius in the 1850s, to Sierra Leone in the 1860s, to New Zealand in the 1870s, and to Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika in the 20th century.

Creator: Commonwealth and Continental Church Society
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • The Commonwealth and Continental Church Society deposited its archives in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library on 19 December 1974 and 6 March 1975. Additional deposits were made on 16 February 1977 and 24 July 1985. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.
  • 1985/033
  • 1974/044
  • 1975/019
  • 1977/014
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 2018
Arrangement: The records have been arranged in sections according to record type.
Publication Notes:

A published history of the Society is "Faith at the Frontiers" by B. Underwood (London, 1974), a copy of which can be found in the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library.