The Atterbury Mission Hall
The Wesleyan Methodist Atterbury Mission Hall stood in Vandyke Road, on the west side, some yards north-east of the junction with Regent Street. In 1997, when the site was developed some documents were found in a bottle which had evidently been laid beneath the foundation stone [MB2142]. These documents reveal that the name was taken from John Henry Atterbury "who came from America to reside in Leighton Buzzard in August 1903. In November of the same year he went to reside in Long Row, Vandyke and opened his cottage for prayer meetings for the benefit of the poor people around him, who were in a deplorable state, morally and spiritually. Dying on November 19th 1903, he requested a number of members in connection with the Wesleyan Church members of Brother Cooper's Class to carry on the work. This was done in the form of cottage services and, under the blessing of God, an awakening took place resulting in the conversion of many souls and the moral and general improvement of the whole neighbourhood. The room becoming too small, during the summer months a tent was erected upon a piece of land purchased by the liberality of many friends, in which successful services were held. With the approach of winter it became necessary to erect a building for the further extension of the work, and on 28th September 1904 the foundation stone of this building was laid by Mrs.Collins of Crafton [Buckinghamshire]".
Another document from the bottle reads: "Builder James Samuel & Co [of Ashwell Street]. Architect Mr.Bowler. Work carried on by the young men of the town mostly in situations. Mr.Smith of North Street was one of the most active workers [perhaps John Charles Smith of 15 North Street, boot and shoe dealer]..... Cost of ground £55 Contract for building £130. September 29th 1904".
In the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists united in 1932 as the Methodist Church of Great Britain. The congregations of Atterbury Hall, North Street and Hockliffe Street came together at North Street in 1960 to form the Trinity Methodist Church. Atterbury Hall closed at that time and was sold in 1965 to S.R.Dillamore Limited, funeral directors. A note written by Robert Austin, Superintendent Minister of the Leighton Buzzard and Stewkley Circuit in 1997 [MB2142] notes that the funeral directors: "had it in mind to use it as a chapel of rest. However, objections by nearby inhabitants caused them to abandon this idea. They actually then used it as a storage warehouse. They sold it for redevelopment of the site about 2 or 3 years ago, when the Mission was demolished".
- MB1537: Circuit property register: 1897-1965;
- MB2142: Items found in a bottle beneath the foundation stone on redevelopment in 1997: 1903-1904;
- MB267: Trustees' papers: 1905-1953
- MB266: Minute book: undated;
- MB264: Trustees' minute book: 1938-1965;
- MB2143: Sunday School minute book: 1945-1959;
- MB265: Society minute book: 1947-1959;
- MB1538: Circuit record book: 1960-1965