An extract from an article in the Bowes Park Weekly News, 14th January 1905
The Rev. Winston Haines presided last Wednesday evening over the nineteenth anniversary of Shaftesbury Mission Hall, Bowes Park Station. A pleasant tea was discussed at 6.30 and the Rev. W Haines said he was pleased to see over fifty people present, more than twice as many as he had counted on.
Mr Haines gave some interesting details of the work and growth of the mission at the meeting after the tea. He said that he left his pastorate in 1883 at St Leonard’s to take up the work at the Wood Green Baptist Church. He then lived in Myddleton-road. There were then very few houses in Bowes Park and shops did not exist. There was a shop in building, and many houses were left in a “carcase” state, just the walls with the roof on. The only made-up roads were Truro-road and Clarence-road. There were other roads but they were more like ploughed fields. In fact, the whole district looked a God-forsaken, God-neglected, woe-begone place. The only church was the pretty one of St Michael’s-at-Bowes.
A few young fellows (“I always loved young men,” said Mr Haines) joined the Baptist Church and complained that they had not enough to do. So they all agreed to start a series of open-air services in Bowes Park and every Sunday afternoon at different places they held their services – hymns and prayer and one or two short addresses or homilies. One of their “pitches” was the actual spot on which Shaftesbury Hall now stands. But they wanted a place “within the meaning” to hold their services, and had started negotiations for a house, when Mr James Townley said that he had heard they had actually held a service on his land. Far, however, from being incensed at this proceeding, he promised to hand over the deeds of the piece of land on which the hall is now built to the Rev. W. Haines, on condition the they built a mission hall there within a short time to hold 200 people. They were not to pull down the mission hall and build a chapel afterwards.
This, said Mr Haines, was exactly what we required, but our church at Finsbury-road was then encumbered with a mortgage debt of £2,000 and the deacons demurred at taking any further responsibility. However, a lady came to their assistance and lent them the money, every penny of which was now paid off, and the present Shaftesbury Hall was opened in 1886.