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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Beresford Street Congregational Church

Beresford Street Congregational Church. This church was founded in March, 1852, under the pastorate of the late Rev. Thomas Hamer, of Manchester. For a time members worshipped in a building called the Shamrock Cottage, situated in Albert Street. The first building was erected close by in 1854. It was built of wood, and was called the Albert Street Congregational Church. The building was sold when the present Beresford Street Church—the first concrete building in Auckland—was erected in 1876. In 1881 the galleries were constructed, and in 1884 a further enlargement was effected in the erection of the organ loft for one of Messrs Lewis and Son's celebrated organs, and also vestries for the pastor and deacons, and class-rooms. The church seats 850 persons, and is one of the prettiest places of worship in the Colony, externally with its Doric architecture, and inside with its galleries and pews, the latter arranged in circular tiers, so that each member of the congregation sits directly facing the minister. The accoustic properties of the church are perfect. The church, together with the manse and land, is valued at £5250, and the latter at £1050, and the whole of the church property (which is all freehold) throughout the province of Auckland is valued at £14,735. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the first Congregational Church in Auckland was built in High Street in 1851 by the Rev. Alexander Macdonald, and existed until 1872. Since the resignation of the Rev. T. Hamer, in 1866, the following ministers have successively held the Beresford Street charge:—The Rev. Warlow Davies, Joseph Robertson, James Chew, George Burgess, and Joseph Parker. Mr. Parker resigned in May, 1890, and after that the charge was vacant; but the Rev. John Wilkins, of Marlborough Church, Old Kent Road, London, left England in January, 1901, for New Zealand, to take charge of the church.