The Metropolitan Tabernacle and Its Institutions

metropolitan tabernacle4The Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon at Home. Study Portrait.

metropolitan tabernacleAn 1882 book review of The Metropolitan Tabernacle and its Institutions (London: Passmore and Alabaster) and Glimpses of Home at Westwood (London: Passmore and Alabaster) published in the journal The Sword and the Trowel, written and edited by evangelist Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), reads:

“These are two beautiful volumes of photographs, which will be specially interesting adornments for the drawing rooms of our friends. The views of Westwood are singularly charming and artistic. Mr. Tom Brine [interior designer] excels in this department. We do not suppose that a large edition of these works of art will be issued, and, indeed, we have no particular desire to see them sold except to our very special friends. To these we commend them very heartily.”

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have become one of Spurgeon’s special friends, acquiring a very rare copy of his Metropolitan Tabernacle and its Institutions. The volume offers twenty-four striking Woodburytypes, credited to the Woodbury Permanent Photographic Printing Company, and an introduction by Vernon J. Charlesworth (1839-1915), one of the Ministering Elders of the Tabernacle.

metropolitan tabernacle5This is certainly the most luxurious book published by Joseph Passmore (1823-1895) and his partner James Alabaster (1826-1892), who printed all of Spurgeon’s sermons from 1855 forward, as well as his memoirs, journals, and numerous other publications.

Considered the largest church in London at that time, the Tabernacle opened on March 18, 1861. Designed by William Wilmer Pocock (1813-1899), the main auditorium seated 5,000 people, with standing room for another 1000. In addition, there was a Pastor’s College; the Tabernacle Almshouses and School; and the Stockwell Orphanage. Spurgeon served as the charismatic pastor of the congregation until his death in 1892.

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For a brief biography of Spurgeon, see:

metropolitan tabernacle9The Stockwell Orphanage. The Dining Hall – Interior.

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metropolitan tabernacle7The Pastor’s College. The Library.

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Below, some of the children of the Stockwell Orphanage.metropolitan tabernacle11The Metropolitan Tabernacle and its institutions, with an introduction by Vernon J. Charlesworth (London: Passmore and Alabaster, [1882]). 24 woodburytypes. Inscribed “Jas. Harvey Esq. with the grateful love of Ch. Spurgeon, Feb. 82. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2016- in process.