St Philip’s Church

St Philip’s Church. Leicester. The church of England.

 The History of St Philip's Church
The Past

First a bit of history - not much though, we've only been here for a hundred years.

In 1903 a lot of houses had been built in the streets off Evington Road , and these people had to travel a long way to their nearest church, so the Diocese thought about building a Church for them. The Church Army started by having a ten day Mission in a marquee, and hundreds of people came to each of the services. There was tremendous enthusiasm for a new Church and working parties were soon set up to raise part of the £9,000 needed to build the Church, together with Bible Classes in peoples' houses.

By 1904 a corrugated iron church had been erected - known as the “tin church" - which had to be enlarged several times because of the large numbers trying to get in. In 1909 the first part of the Church was built - not much bigger than the part of the building we use as a worship area today. So many people came to the services, particularly the evening services, that the “tin Church” had to be used as  well.

In 1913 the remainder of the Church was built, with pews for over 500 people. There was not enough money to build the tower or Lady Chapel that were originally planned, and these were never built.

The Church grew from strength to strength, under a dynamic Vicar - Canon John Dearlove. Before long there was a vicarage built and church halls large enough to provide social activities for the Church and the whole community - drama society, choirs, dancing, whist drives, Scouts and Guides and many others. In 1949 nearly 980 people were recorded on the Electoral Roll (a list of people entitled to vote at Church meetings) - one of the highest figures ever recorded in Leicestershire. In 1967 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, celebrated Holy Communion at St Philip's at the start of a visit to Leicester .

Since 1960 there has been a big change in the area. Many families from the West Indies, Kenya , Uganda and India have settled in the area, resulting in a gradual decline in our congregation.

In 1996 we had a bad fire, totally destroying the vestry area and the organ. We no longer needed such a large church and halls, which were costing us a lot of money to maintain, so we made a decision to sell the halls and use the money to re-order the church to provide a smaller worship area, together with meeting rooms capable of serving the present congregation and the community around us.