Later History of the Hall
Over the years, the Hall has continued to be a place of worship.
In August 1987, the members were shocked to hear that British Rail was planning to sell the land on which the Mission stood, for which it had charger a “peppercorn rent.” The Railway Mission General Secretary approached British Rail head office regarding a pre-auction purchase as sitting tenants, at a reasonable price, but he could make no headway with them. It was also learned that the Hall, which actually belonged to the church members, was up for sale also.
Special Church meetings were held to decide on a course of action; a special evening of prayer, which was supported by many local churches.
On a legal technicality, that the Hall was a “temporary structure” as it was bolted to its foundations, the sale of the building was prevented.
The sale of the land continued and was purchase, in faith, by the Church for £29,000, against commercial bidding. At the time, the Church only had £8,000 to £9,000. Offers of interest-free loans and gifts flooded in from Churches, organisations and individuals – amounts large and small, from rich and poor, from far and near. The amount needed was raised within weeks and the loans were quickly repaid. It had been a modern-day miracle.
Following the sale, Trustees were appointed and a new church formed, with its own constitution. The big changeover was made in August 1990. The name was altered to “Fornham Road Free Church” and 95 years of history was at an end.
The inauguration of the new Church was held on 23rd February 1991.
In March 1996 the Hall was given Grade 2 Listed Building status.
About October 2001, due to the increasing age and decreasing numbers of the membership, the Trustees decided to sell the building.
It was bought by the Bury St. Edmunds Adventist Church.. (See History of Local Adventists)
(Most of the above information, and the pictures, were kindly provided by Mrs. Gloria J. Abbott.)