History of Carrs Lane United Reformed Church

There has been a worshipping community in Carrs Lane since 1748.  From 1832, Carrs Lane Church belonged to the newly-formed Congregational Union, which became part of the United Reformed Church when the English Presbyterian and Congregational churches merged in 1972.

The Congregational Church built the third Chapel on this site, which stood from 1820 to 1970.  Its most famous minister was Dr R W Dale, an influential Victorian who preached The Civic Gospel and drew large crowds from all over the country to hear him.

The Heritage Boards, illustrated above, which tell the story of Carrs Lane, are situated on the grass of Dale Gardens, behind the church in Carrs Lane itself.

I have been a member of Carrs Lane for most of my life, having been christened here in 1944. There have been immense changes since then and Carrs Lane has managed to adapt to meet new situations. Numerically, we may be only a small proportion of what the attendance was after the war, but there is a strong survival spirit, which must have encouraged the members in the 1960s to go ahead with a complete rebuild, even after two other denominations pulled out. The church is open virtually all day every day offering itself to all sorts of people and many different groups and organisations meet here. No church has an easy existence these days, particularly in the city centre, and yet that spirit lives on in the way the church has taken a step in faith in becoming an LEP with the Methodists, which I believe is already bearing fruit. There is a very strong bond between the members who are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and theological viewpoints. We have a deep sense of respect for one another in spite of differing views. As someone said recently, we are held together by a very strong glue. It feels as though The Church at Carrs Lane is entering a new phase in its life, not just because it has a new name, but because of the number of new people who have become involved in the last few years, who are bringing new ideas and renewing our enthusiasm to develop our ministry in the city centre.

Before the present Church Centre was built, there was considerable debate as to whether a Reformed Church presence should be retained in the city centre.  The decision was taken to remain in Carrs Lane, not because of its historic name, but because the Church wanted to provide a place which could be of value to those coming into the city centre to work, to shop, or to meet.  The present building was completed in 1970.

Since then, it has been a busy, seven days a week centre.  We provide a friendly and efficient service to all organisations, large or small, which hire our rooms.  This part of our work is operated by Carrs Lane Conference Centre Limited, which is wholly owned by and contributes to The Church at Carrs Lane.

The Centre is open to the public from Monday to Saturday, from 9.00 to 5.30, for booked evening meetings from Monday to Friday and for church services on Sunday.