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A Letter From Mr. Spurgeon

From the January 1884 Sword and Trowel


Haddon Hall

DEAR FRIENDS,—Before "The Bitter Cry of Outcast London" had been so pathetically reported by the press, friends connected with the Tabernacle had thought of the poor of Bermondsey, and set to work to help them. Among the best of the agencies which grew out of this thoughtfulness was the Green Walk Mission, led by Mr. William Olney, jun., which has proved to be no mere attempt at Mission work, but a solid success. Under God, the marked prosperity of every part of the work may, beyond all doubt, be ascribed to the zeal, industry, and self-denial of the leader; but by the grace of God there has been gathered around him a singularly gracious body of people, at once docile and energetic, sensible and enthusiastic. I feel that when men like young Mr. Olney are raised up, the least thing that we can do is to find them a suitable place in which to carry on their beneficent efforts. Queen-bees are hard to find; and when one is met with, all the other bees should set to work to build a hive.
    We gave the exterior in a former number, and now the interior on the opposite page will show what a noble building has been erected for Mr. Olney's enterprise. It is worthy of its object. Looking over it while in progress, we were delighted with the number and size of the rooms. It is by no means a makeshift, but altogether a model erection, admirably adapted to its purpose. It could not have been better had it been designed for Westend aristocrats, and therefore it is just suited for the poor of Bermondsey. If we do things meanly for the poor they are likely to think meanly of it. Our friends earnestly desired to designate the new hall after the Pastor of the Tabernacle; but as he just as earnestly declined the honor, a compromise has been effected, and the place is to be called Haddon Hall, which is, and yet is not, the Pastor's name, but is a pleasing musical name for a happy and handsome edifice.*
    Friends at the Tabernacle and in Bermondsey have given right royally, so that £5,205 has come in to the Fund, and this has been a great joy to my heart. Messrs. Barrow, and the three Olney brothers and other donors must have special mention; but the array of smaller donors is equally remarkable. On the whole it is well done, and is a fair example of Christian willinghood, and a proof that Christian people are not negligent of what somebody, fonder of Latin than I am, has called "the lapsed masses." The spiritual work has come first, and the material structure has followed in due course. The dirty, awkward rooms in Green Walk, where, by-the-way, not a green blade ever grows, have been the nursery for a hopeful family, which will now be the commencement of a well-housed, self-supporting Mission. With God's sure blessing the future is full of joyous hope.
    Now, there will be one blot on it all unless God's goodness shall move generous friends to prevent the evil. It is feared that there may be a debt of £1,300. No Tabernacle enterprise has ever yet been in debt. No building raised under our immediate auspices has ever been opened without being paid for. Is this to be an exception to an admirable rule? Shall we tarnish our laurels? If those who have not given will now come up to the mark, the thing will be done. It is due to our Lord, to whom we owe so much, that this matter should not be left in doubt: our willing liberality must decide that this house for the Lord and the Lord's poor shall be put into trust free of all liability—present or future. May this be the case. on the. day. of opening in February next! This will greatly gladden the heart of your friend and Pastor, now resting at Mentone. It will make it a delight to open the building in February.


    December, 1883.


* "Haddon Hall" is a massive 12-century castle in Bakewell, Derbyshire. Haddon Hall Baptist Church, Bermondsey, still exists at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is located just south of the Thames on Tower Road.

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