Methodist Central Hall, Westminster was opened in 1912 as a monument to mark the centenary of John Wesley’s death (the founder of Methodism).
The site was formerly occupied by the Royal Aquarium (primarily a music hall), which was purchased by money raised through a huge Methodist fund raising venture.
Methodist Central Hall wis one of the world’s first purpose-built meetings facilities was designed by Lancester and Rickards and constructed on the site of the former Royal Aquarium. On the 3rd of October 1912, the Viennese Baroque styled building opened its doors to the public and quickly established itself as a prime venue for debate of current affairs and concerts.
Methodist Central Hall, Westminster was funded between 1898 and 1908 by the “Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Fund” (or the “Million Guinea Fund”, as it became more commonly known), whose aim was to raise one million guineas from one million Methodists. The fund closed in 1904 having raised 1,024,501 guineas (£1,075,727). Methodist Central Hall was to act not only as a church, but to be of “great service for conferences on religious, educational, scientific, philanthropic and social questions”.
The Rev. William Sangster was a notable Superintendent at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. His first service here in Westminster was interrupted by the news that war had been declared, and soon he had organised a shelter which served Londoners for 1,688 days, his family also living here in the Hall.
The Great Hall, with its spectacular self-supporting dome, has welcomed world figures including:
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Bertrand Russell
- Dalai Lama
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
- Sir Winston Churchill
- most current politicians incl. Prime Minister David Cameron
- event attended by Winnie Mandela
- event attended by HM The Queen
- Prince Charles
Past 100 years Methodist Central Hall, Westminster has hosted events of national and international importance:
- First ever meeting of the United Nations (1946)
- World Premier of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat(1968)
- Bloody Sunday Inquiry (2002)
- Laureus World Sports Awards (2012)
- Stand Up to Cancer (2014, 2016)
- Holocaust Memorial Day (2015)
- BBC Opposition Leaders Debates (2015)
- ‘Rock Big Ben’ New Year’s Eve BBC Concerts, (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
- James Corden’s The Late Late Show (2017)