History of Christian Science in Bedford

The first person in England to advertise as a Christian Science Practitioner in  The Christian Science Journal  was a woman named Blanche Ward. She had attended classes on Christian Science healing, based on the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, in New York in 1890. She moved to Boston and then crossed the Atlantic and settled in Bedford in 1893. Encouraged by her healing work in Bedford, and with patients in London, she moved to London in 1894 to continue her practice and to hold Christian Science services.

Click on the headings below for more information.

Christian Science Services from 1901

In 1901, friends of Mrs Ward in Bedford who were interested in Christian Science began to meet together on Sunday afternoons in a private house to hold services. As the attendance at these meetings grew, it was decided to form a Christian Science Society. The first public service was held on 5th February 1904, in rooms at the YMCA in Harpur Street, Bedford. Regular services were held on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. and on alternate Wednesday evenings at 8 p.m. A Lending Library was also started.

The Christian Science Society moved to larger premises in Conduit Road in 1906, and the first meeting there was on Thursday 28th June. Sunday services were held both morning and evening. A Reading Room was opened in 1907, and the first lecture on Christian Science was given also in 1907. A Sunday School was started in the following year, 1908.

The Society moved to other rented accommodation in St Peters Street and then Windsor Place. The property at 19 Goldington Road was purchased in 1918 and the first service was held there on 9th May 1920.

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Bedford

Christian Science Society became First Church of Christ, Scientist, Bedford, in 1939 and continued at Goldington Road until 1962. The present site in Kimbolton Road was purchased in 1959 and the first service was held here on Wednesday 31st January 1962. The Church was dedicated - in gratitude to God for his goodness, to His glory, and to the service of mankind - on 20th October 1963.

We celebrated a century of Sunday Services at our regular 11 a.m. service on Sunday 8th February 2004.

 blanche ward
Courtesy of Longyear Museum
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts