Plaque: Union Chapel - Spicer
Laid by Henry Spicer, 13th May 1876. Opened 5th Dec. 1877.
The dates must be the (notional) start and end dates of the erection of the building. We guess that the stone named by us as "Union Chapel - foundation" was laid on the first date (1876) to celebrate the start of the work and that this stone was laid on the second date (1877) at the end of the job, though neither of the dates tally closely with those we have garnered elsewhere for the Chapel.
Site: Union Chapel (3 memorials)
N1, Compton Terrace, Union Chapel
The two foundation stones can be seen below the more ornate plaque. We do like their plain multi-layered frames.
The building was threatened with demolition in 1982, but was saved and, with much assistance from English Heritage, has been undergoing a continuing programme of restoration. The acoustics are good and it is a well-used concert venue.
A tour of this building enabled us to see two interesting relics: A long section of stone laid into the wall of a corridor, on which is inscribed the name of the Chapel. We were told this was from the facade of the original 1806 building. And a piece of the original Plymouth Rock, on which the Pilgrim Fathers famously and apocryphally stepped ashore in 1620. This was apparently given to the Union Chapel in 1886 by an American group of fellow non-conformists. We wondered how many pieces of the Rock exist around the world. There seem to be a few so if anyone else wants to research this you can start here and here.