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Bournemouth Spiritualist Church

16 Bath Road



Site updated 16 May 2018

At the beginning of this century, around 1904, a Mr John Walker and three friends - Mr F S Blake and two brothers, Percy and William Street, started a development circle with the leader and medium being John Walker.  He was a good trance and physical medium, and sometimes, this physical power was very dominant.  Objects were moved about at the request of the sitters, causing a lot of interest and at times, amusement.  This went on for some time until one night, a Spirit Control came through their leader and said, “Well boys, you’ve had your fun, now you must get down to serious work.”  He gave them to understand that they were to help lay the foundations for a church which was to be under the control of a band of workers from the spirit side of life.  They were to be used as the mouthpiece through whom they hoped to pass to earth, some of the knowledge they had acquired.  When they had developed far enough, they started meetings in a small studio now occupied by the Charminster Road Post Office.


Opening of Charminster Church

The Society was opened in 1905.  They shortly moved to premises in what was then called Town Hall Avenue, where the Sunday services were held in a café.  It was here that Vincent N. Turvey, an author, did so much work.  Some time later a Mr Hiscock and a Mrs Hayter, who had been members for some time, later opened the church which is still doing good work in Charminster Road today.

Moving to Bath Road

The Membership was now steadily growing.  After various changes, we settled for a time in the Wilberforce Halls, Holdenhurst Road, and here we started to form ourselves into a church, allying ourselves with the Spiritualists’ National Union.  Rules were formed and an organised Council and membership established.  On leaving Wilberforce Hall in 1920-1921, we went to the Theosophical Rooms in Lansdowne Road.  We had now been wandering about for some time, and at a committee meeting we arranged that the committee members were to search and visit all premises which might prove suitable.  After some time, the President, found the house known as Streate Place, 10 Bath Road, which had been a doctor’s house and had a waiting room and surgery on the Bath Road entrance.  These premises were purchased by the committee.  It was on moving to these premises in late 1923 that Mr Frank Blake became our resident Minister after giving years of exemplary and invaluable service through his mediumship and powers of organisation to the build up of the church.  The first church was completed in 1924 and was opened by Mr Ernest Oaten who was then the Editor of the “Two Worlds” magazine.  When Mr Blake became resident minister, Mr Frank Bessant took his place as President.

The Healing Guild

A great interest in healing had been taking place since the early days and the President in 1921, Mr Lonsdale was responsible for its inauguration.

Upon our move to Bath Road, the healing work increased rapidly and on Mr Lonsdale’s death, Mr Blake became the leader in 1935. The building adjoining the Church came once more into the possession of the Church, having been purchased by the Misses Wadlow for the sum of £6,000 and presented to the Bournemouth National Spiritualist Church to be used as a Healing Guild.

A Short History of the Church