Defoe Chapel, Tooting High Street

Defoe Chapel, 19,Tooting High Street

Built in 1776 for a congregation established in 1688, two storey pedimented classical front’ (Pevsner) on the grounds of a previous wooden church where Dissenters met in secret to escape persecution. Local folklore suggests Daniel Defoe was amongst them and the chapel named after him continued as a place of worship for Non-Conformists until 1902 when it was sold to the Primitive Methodists. In 1911 it was sold for commercial use. Before that time, c1910 Alderman William Melluhish, undertaker and stonemason oversaw the removal of burials within the chapel building and re-interment of remains to a Streatham cemetery. In 2014 Tooting History Group members united with the congregation of the United Reform Church,Tooting to resist alteration to the front elevation and development at the rear of the building. Plans to remodel the façade were withdrawn and in 2015, during works to extend the retail premises, human remains were unearthed in the cemetery grounds and re-interred on the site at two ceremonies conducted by Reverend Helen Matthews of the URC.