Happy 190th Birthday Charles Spurgeon

Photograph of Charles Spurgeons, alongside text wishing him a Happy Birthday

This week we celebrated the birthday of our charity founder Charles Spurgeon (19th June 1834). Join us on a journey into the past, as we explore the life and the impact he made on children, young people and families throughout the Victorian period and how that work continues today. 

Charles Spurgeon – 190th Birthday

Who was Charles Spurgeon? 

Charles Spurgeon was an English Baptist preacher, theologian and writer, well known as the “Prince of Preachers,” who was born in Kelvedon, Essex on the 19th of June 1834.  

Spurgeon’s conversion came at the age of 15, when a snowstorm forced him to seek shelter in a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Colchester, where he spent his childhood and early teenage years. The preacher spoke to him directly and this experience had a lasting influence on his work and his direction in life.  

A few months after his conversion he began preaching at Teversham, before accepting his first pastorate, at the Baptist Chapel in Waterbeach, only a year later.  

As his reputation as a preacher grew, he was invited to preach at London’s New Park Street Church in April 1854, just four years after his conversion, at the tender age of 19 years old. Upon completing a short probationary period, he accepted the role of pastor. Here, the congregation grew enormously, and soon became too large, which contributed to the decision to enlarge the building, and temporarily his services were moved to Exeter Hall during reconstruction.  

Despite the renovations reaching completion in 1855, the increasing size of the congregation meant that a committee was formed to oversee the building of a new home for the church – the Metropolitan Tabernacle, a project that Charles would financially contribute to for the rest of his life.  

From his earliest days preaching, Charles Spurgeon started publishing sermons and, in his lifetime, he would go on to publish a number of religious books and texts. 

In 1856 Spurgeon founded the Pastors’ College which was later renamed Spurgeon’s College in 1923, when it moved to its present building in South Norwood Hill, London. 

The founding of our charity 

In 1867, after receiving a donation of £20k from Anne Hillyard, an Anglican widow, Spurgeon, along with his associates founded the Stockwell Orphanage in South London to support ‘fatherless boys’. Here, he was able to provide orphaned and vulnerable children with care, shelter and an education with the aim of creating the hope of a better future for the children within his care. After 10 years, girls were also made welcome, resulting in the orphanage supporting over 500 children who lived there.  

An old photograph of the Spurgeons Stockwell Orphanage Staff in 1934, to celebrate the history of Charles Spurgeon on his 189th Birthday

Front row (left to right) No.13 – Dr J G Green. Headmaster Stockwell (L.C.C.) School., No.14 – Mr McLaren. Superintendent Stockwell Orphanage, No.17 – Rev. Tydeman-Chilvers, No.20 – Miss Castell. Matron House 6., No.23 – Miss Dorethy Aspa. Matron House 9. 

Middle row (left to right), No.16 – Infirmary Nurse Barker., No.17 – Infirmary Sister Allen., No.22 – Mr Fry. Schoolmaster (later missionary in Africa), No.23 – Mr A J Holt. Science master, No.24 – Mr ‘Diggy’ Holland. Woodwork master, No.25 – Mr Wise. Maths master, No.26 – Mr Aylesbury. History and Music master. 

Back row (left to right) 

No.1 – Mr Beezer. Yard master. 

From its opening, Stockwell Orphanage continued to support children and young people throughout the First and Second World Wars, before moving to Surrey and finally closing in the late 1970s. 

Although the charity looks very different today, Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s work continues and supports more children, young people and families than ever before.  

Our services today include a range of children centres and family hubs, services that support young carers and prison-based family support services. In 2021, we joined with Fegans Charity. This has enabled us to reach even more people in need, and offer vital work in providing professional counselling, parent support and early-years education to children and families throughout Kent, East Sussex and beyond. What’s more, we also run the largest website for dads in Europe, over at Dad.Info

Although the work we do with children and families has very much developed over the past 150 years, our aims remain the same – Spurgeons transforms the nation, one child at a time, by ensuring every family has the support needed to flourish. 

Charles Spurgeon Quotes 

“As soon as a child is capable of being lost, they’re capable of being saved.” 

“We should shun ingratitude and live daily in the heavenly atmosphere of thankful love.” 

“Teach the little ones the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” 

Photo of Charles Spurgeon alongside a quote, to celebrate his 189th Birthday

“Hope itself is like a star – not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.” 

“Give because you love to give – as the flower pours forth its perfume.” 

“Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened.”

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