QVSR started life as the seamen’s mission of the methodist church in 1843.
Known originally as the wesleyan seamen’s mission, the aim was to minister to the spiritual needs and promote the social and morale welfare of seafarers and their families in the vicinity of the port of london.
Over time a need arose for a meeting place of some kind in the new Sailor Town that had sprung up at Poplar. Opposite the ‘seamen’s entrance’ of the local Board of Trade Office on the East India Dock Road in Jeremiah Street stood a small public house called The Magnet. In 1887, the license of The Magnet was withdrawn, providing the Mission with an opportunity to rent the public house and it was transformed into a Seamen’s Rest. The Rest consisted of a plainly furnished reading room and rest room with a third room available for daily Bible and Prayer meetings and three rooms reserved for the caretaker. An elementary nautical school ran three mornings a week and services were held on Monday and Friday evenings. Gradually the sphere of the Mission’s operation extended from London Bridge to Tilbury and embraced the river, docks and wharfs, as well as the on-shore haunts of sailors and hospitals, so that by the end of the century it was evident that the old ‘Magnet’ premises were inadequate.
Read on to uncover more of our fascinating history and how we have adapted to the many changes life has brought over the years…