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1798 map of Cambridge showing Downing Place area

Independent / Congregationalist chapel, Downing Place

History of Independent Chapel, Downing Place

1798 map of Cambridge showing Downing Place

Z marks the location of the Independent (Congregationalist) Chapel in Downing Place which Josiah Chater attended from November 1848. He had attended St Andrew’s Street Baptist Chapel but he started going to to the Independent Chapel when a minister, Rev George Burden Bubier, whose sermons he admired, was appointed there.  On the day George Bubier was installed, 23rd January 1848, there was a dinner on the Town Hall. Josiah did not attend, probably because of the ticket price (5s men, 3s women), but he also disapproved of half a pint of wine being included in the price.

Independent Chapel and Manse, Downing Place c1874

The previous minister, Rev Samuel Thodey, had been in place since 1820 but left Cambridge for London in 1848 because he was unwilling to accept a reduction in stipend.

(Victorian Cambridge, ed. E. Porter)

This building was later used as a music school and then became the University of Cambridge Language Centre.

During WWII, the Music School served as the HQ, armoury and stores of the 5th Battalion of the Cambridgeshire Home Guard.


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