London 1978


Salem Baptist Church, The Green, Richmond, 1978
14j44: richmond, church, disused, doorway

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My first thoughts on seeing the doorway of the then disused Salem Baptist Church on Richmond Green were undoubtedly about the Salem Witch trials in Massachusetts in 1692/3 which were the subject of Arthur Miller's powerful play The Crucible.
It gave Salem, which in the Old Testament was the home of Melchizedek king of Salem who was the priest of the most high God and provided bread and wine to bless Abraham after his victory against the kings, a bad name. Salem was the name of the god who was worshipped in that city and comes from the same Hebrew root as 'shalom' which means peace and wholeness, and the city of Salem became better known as Jerusalem, the added 'yeru' meaning a foundation stone.
Salem became a popular name for Christian, particularly puritan churches who were averse to naming their churches after saints, and there are many Salem churches and related organisations, particularly in the USA, and there was even a Battle of Salem Church in Virginia during the US Civil War.
The congregation that worshipped in Richmond, Surrey's Salem Baptist church was founded in 1861 and after over a hundred years moved out some time before I took this picture to smaller but more modern premises a mile or so away in Kew, where they continue under their new name of Kew Baptist Church.