A Brief History of Linacre

 

The Early Years

Linacre Methodist Mission was founded in 1898 by  Mrs. Elizabeth Walker and her son Mr. Albert James Walker. A two up - two down house was bought in Langton Road, Litherland, Liverpool. In a matter of months these premises were not adequate to contain the numbers of people joining Langton Road Mission. The house next door was soon purchased...walls were knocked down and; extended church premises were full to bursting with Bible Classes and Services of Worship, but most of all a thriving Sunday School.
As the railway extended through to Waterloo and the docks were expanding into Seaforth there was more and more development taking place around Linacre Road. A great step in faith was taken when the site we occupy now was bought. Langton Road Mission couldn't contain the number of people coming into the Christian faith.
 
The First Mission Hall And Expansion Of Our Work.

In 1900 the first Linacre Wesleyan Mission was built to house a congregation of 500. More and more people came and the work prospered. Countless men, women and children found their Lord in this place and returned week by week to sing their praise and thanksgiving.
In 1904 at the Sunday School Anniversary a crowd of three thousand came compelling the Mission authorities to hold the evening service in the open air in front of the Hall. Plans were drawn up to construct a new Mission Hall in front of the existing one to accommodate 1200 and was opened on the 30th September 1905.
At the opening service a fire broke out from the ceiling causing much smoke damage and the building had to be evacuated. All hands to the plough for the rest of the evening and through the night....and we were open as usual for business on Sunday
 
Evangelism And Social Concern

Every Sunday the place was packed for worship and many events took place every day of the week. Many remember Mrs. Elizabeth Walker after every Sunday evening service walking along Linacre Road looking for those who were destitute. Linacre Mission tended the needy, giving out clothing and shoes and bringing comfort and strength to those who had nothing. The Lighthouse Cafe opened so that refreshments could be bought there rather than at the Public House, because alcohol abuse was one of the greatest evils of the day.
In the 1920's Linacre had a Sunday School of 3000 children which met at 3 pm. The Children's Service and the Evening Service both started at 6.30 pm. and were filled to capacity. Our expanding work with young people made it essential for new Sunday School premises to be built - opened in 1914 with a fully equipped gym and special rooms for the uniformed organisations and various groups.

The War Years

The first and second world wars need a special mention. The Linacre Ladies Regiment worked tirelessly making garments to send to our soldiers at home and abroad. One of our rooms was turned into a place they called "The Soldiers Home." This was a place of refuge for the men and women in the forces.
The May Blitz of 1941 destroyed over 25,000 homes in Bootle and Litherland - yet our Mission premises just received minor damage. Streets of houses were now rubble and some members who had lost all their possessions had left the immediate area to find other housing. A programme of visitation was put into practice and the numbers increased to round about 500.
In 1948 the thrust of our ministry was still in the evangelical mode. The Bootle Life Campaign and Billy Graham Campaigns went out with a very strong Christian message with some success, and we again started to build up our membership and work with young people. Throughout the life of this Mission there have been men and women called to serve in the Methodist Ministry. Rev. James Saunders went to America from Linacre in 1937 and became a Minister in The United Methodist Church and still claims this Mission as his spiritual home.
 
Some of our members have been called to worked Overseas through the Methodist Missionary Society and today we still support the work as we did when C.T. Studd renowned for his work in China left Linacre after Preaching at one of our services and sailed from Liverpool.
The 75th Church Anniversary in 1980 was celebrated with a Flower Festival illustrating the history of our work through the years. During this 75th. year we also had various special events. On Saturday October 24th. 1987 we opened the Lighthouse Coffee Bar in Hartwell Street as a venture of Christian Service in the community.
We also experienced again a fire in the Main Hall which took six months to repair and redecorate. This occurred at Christmas in 1993 and the Hall was reopened in May 1994.

Saved To Serve

We have lived through times of change. The affluent society and the Welfare State may have seen the decline in poverty, hunger and brutal drunkenness, but new challenges have emerged.
How do we respond to needs of the aged, the lonely, the housebound, the infirm and the unemployed? How do we work for a just world?
 
The streets around our premises are filled with family cars and the people enjoy a much improved standard of living compared with the early days of our work at Langton Road......but as yesterday, men, women and children still need a Saviour.

Our confidence lies in Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and for ever! Men and women of every generation have the right to hear the news that Jesus still seeks and saves.

We have a great heritage - and in it we can see the hand of God. It gives us the incentive to continue the unfinished task and confidence to face the future. One thing that we can be sure about is that Linacre Mission has had a great impact in our local community in the last hundred years....and we are ready to be the torch bearers for the future to carry on this great task.