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Beth-Emmanuel British Methodist Episcopal Church

430, Grey Street, City of London, Ontario, N8Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/06/06

Of note is the gothic window above the door that displays the Church's name.; Kendra Green, 2007.
Front Entrance of 430 Grey Street, 2007.
Of note are the arched gothic windows that flank the entrance and gabled roofline.; Kendra Green, 2007.
Façade of 430 Grey Street, 2007.
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Other Name(s)

Beth-Emmanuel British Methodist Episcopal Church
B.M.E. Church
African Methodist Church
Fugitive Slave Chapel
430 Grey Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Beth-Emmanuel British Methodist Episcopal Church is located at 430 Grey Street, on the north side of Grey Street between Colborne and Maitland Streets, in the City of London. The single-storey white-brick church was constructed between 1868 and 1871.

The property was designated, by the City of London, in 1983, for its historic value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law L.S.P. – 2657-240).

Heritage Value

The Beth-Emmanuel British Methodist Episcopal church is the oldest surviving church, for the Black community, in the City of London. At the time the congregation was founded, the Black community was large and prosperous. The community was centred on land around the south side of the fork of the Thames River. The congregation worshiped at 275 Thames Street under the name African Methodist Episcopal Church until 1856 when the name was changed to the British Methodist Episcopal Church. The congregation built the present white-brick, Gothic Revival structure at 430 Grey Street between 1868 and 1871. In later years, the building was raised for the construction of a basement.

Some noteworthy individuals are associated with the church. These include John Brown, the abolitionist, who preached at the Thames Street Church in 1858 before his ill-fated raid on Harper's Ferry the following year. Later, Richard B. Harrison, a noteworthy local actor, attended the church as well as his brother, the Reverend William Harrison. In more recent times, the late Paul Lewis, one of London's best-loved citizens, was an official of the congregation.

The Beth-Emmanuel British Methodist Episcopal church is an example of Gothic Revival architecture. Characteristic of this style are the symmetrically-placed pointed-arched gothic windows, some which have been constructed with stained glass. The rectangular-shaped floor plan and steep roofline of the church are also reminiscent of the Gothic Revival style. Unique to this church are the symmetrical protruding brick columns that emphasise the narrow window openings.

Sources: City of London By-law No. L.S.P.-2657-240; “Beth Emmanuel, historic London church, gets a facelift from friends”, article in Londoner, July 20, 2005.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Beth-Emmanuel British Methodist Episcopal Church include its:
- continued use as a site of worship
- inscription of the church's name in the gothic window above the front door, commemorating the founding of the congregation
- exterior elevations of white-brick construction and symmetrical protruding brick columns
- pointed-arched gothic windows, and their symmetrical locations
- roofline and steep roof-pitch
- rectangular floor plan




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1983/01/01 to 1983/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of London Planning and Development Department 300 Dufferin Avenue London, ON N6A 4L9

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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