Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Seamen's Church & Institute, Bristol
Seamen's Church & Institute   [no longer consecrated]
Prince Street / Royal Oak Avenue,
Bristol, Gloucestershire.


We believe the Church did NOT have a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in 1880, but we understand it was closed after 1914, and the premises are now in secular use.

John Latimer, in The Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century (1887) records a meeting held on 16th September 1851, when "it was resolved to establish a local Sailors' Home - an institution for raising the character and promoting the comfort of seamen which had been already tested with satisfactory results in other large ports". Premises, extending from Queen Square to the Grove, were purchased in March 1852 for £1,300, and over £1,000 more were expended in fitting them up. The home was opened in January, 1853.

It was almost 30 years before a dedicated Chapel was opened - "a new building, called the Sailors' Institute, erected in Prince's Street, at a cost of £4,500, by Mr. W.F. Lavington... proved very popular".

Arrowsmith's Dictionary of Bristol (1884) records that it was opened on 10th February 1880 by the Bishop of Gloucester. "The building is in the Venetian style of architecture. The decorations and the interior arrangements are exceedingly chaste, so much so that it is considered one of the prettiest of its kind in England. The chapel occupies the upper portion of the edifice, and the Seamen's Institute the lower. It was erected by W.F. Lavington, at his own cost, and will accommodate 300.

It is situated on the corner north-east corner of the junction of Prince's Street and Royal Oak Avenue, the latter being a short alley-way off Queen's Square, now pedestrianised, opposite the junction of Prince's Street with Farr's Lane. In the present day it is sandwiched between other buildings, having been partly demolished at the Prince's Street end as a result of damage during WWII a new frontage added; however sufficient of the original building remains to be visible from Prince's Street. There are three archways on the lower "floor", above which are 6 narrow round-arched windows. The east end of the roof is finished with a bell-turret with hangings for two bells, topped with a quatrefoil opening.

It is listed in Kelly's Directory of Bristol of 1902 together with the "Churches and Episcopal Chapels" (ie Church of England) but in the comparable section for 1914, the address of a Seamen's Church in Gloucester Road, Avonmouth, appears instead. However it was still recorded in the street directory section at 53 Prince Street - "Seamen's Church and Institute". The Rev. Norman S. De Jersey, M.A. was the chaplain of both.

Old Maps of the 1880s show it as "Seamen's Church & Instn.". By way of comparison, it is labelled on recent (2013) Maps as "Prince's Hall". According to a notice in "The London Gazette of 7th December 1987 (p.15027), this was once the home of the Bristol Evangelistic Centre, which on that date, had "wholly ceased to be used as a place of worship". Its current use is unknown.


Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Church was located at OS grid reference ST5865272508. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Bristol, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.

Information last updated on 25 May 2014 at 15:27.

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Further Information

This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no affiliation with the churches or congregations themselves, nor is it intended to provide a means to find places of worship in the present day.

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This Report was created 8 Aug 2022 - 02:37:57 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:13.

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