The photograph shows the URC chapel in Wisbech, which is where I went last Saturday to join their bicentenary celebrations. In 1818 a group of 11 Christians decided to establish a non-conformist church in Wisbech. Within 12 months there were worshipping in this building.
The service was led by their Minister, Revd John Filsak, and was attended by both the mayors for the Town Council and the District Council together with ecumenical guests. As usual, excellent refreshments were provided in the hall.
As the congregation grew a gallery was installed to cope with the 1000+ members. Unfortunately, congregations of that size are but a distant memory.
It was good to go to Wisbech for another reason. Less than 100 metres from the church is the memorial to one of Wisbech’s most famous sons, Thomas Clarkson. Clarkson (1760 – 1846) was an English abolitionist, and a leading campaigner against the slave trade in the British Empire. He helped found The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. After the successful passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 he campaigned for the abolition of slavery worldwide.
The memorial was designed by George Gilbert Scott and unveiled in 1881, 63 years after our church in Wisbech was established. On the sides of the monument there are plaques to two of the other influential people in the abolition movement, William Wilberforce and Granville Sharp, both colleagues of Clarkson.