St Paul's has a proud history, usually celebrated each year when we open for Blackpool Heritage Weekend. Unfortunately, we are unable to take part in 2020, so look out for the 2021 date and put in your diary.
The 'Tin Tabernacle'
The original church, known as the 'Tin Tabernacel' due to its iron construction, opened on the 14th July 1885. In such a rapidly expanding area of Blackpool, even at the opening more attended than could fit inside and it was soon too small to hold the growing congregation. A church hall (now the Worship Centre itself) and vicarage (the neighbouring Nursery) were added in 1896 but what was needed, was a new church building.
St Paul's Church
The foundation stone for the new church (now the redeveloped St Paul's Medical Centre) was laid on the 26th September 1897 by Mr W.J. Galloway MP. The silver trowel presented to him has since been returned to the church.
St Paul's thrived: in 1905 there were 659 Easter Communicants and the Sunday School had expanded to 300! During World War I, St Paul's suspended all activities to free the church hall for military use, while the ladies of the parish knitted hundreds of pairs of socks to help the war effort. In 1926 electric lighting was installed and the old gas lighting removed, followed in 1931 by the addition of new extensions to the church hall.
From 1939 the church hall was once again used for war work, this time as a school for evacuees. One of our present congregation can still remember the chiildre being brought into the hall before being 'chosen' by their foster parents.
The Worship Centre
In the 1990's, societal changes and the expensive upkeep of the large church building made it unviable. The building was sold to be redeveloped into St Paul's Medical Centre, with only the church tower now remaining. This has however, enabled the church community to enter a new phase once more, with the old church hall now St Paul's Worship Centre.
Still in use today are the communion vessels and furniture donated by parishioners over the years. We have two chairs made from HMS Foudroyant, once Nelson's flagship, which was wrecked off Blackpool in 1897, and furniture made by the renowned firm of Robert Thompson, each piece with their trademark carved on it - a mouse!
Special interest visits to St Paul's can be arranged with our Churchwarden, who would be delighted to share more of the church's history. Contact Hazel: Email, tel. 01253 356355.