The original old Surrey Chapel, a 'round' building, was opened in 1783 by the Revd Rowland Hill on a leasehold site in the Blackfriars Road. This was a Congregational Church. In 1876 the congregation built and moved to a new building, Christ Church, in the Westminster Bridge Road. The old round church's lease was taken over by Primitive Methodists, who had to move when the lease expired and the building was closed (to be re-opened as an iron-monger's store). In 1888 they opened their New Surrey Chapel, but none of the records in this collection relate to this church. One should note that the book by the Revd Benjamin Senior: "A Hundred Years of Evangelistic Work at Surrey Chapel" (1895) covers both the Congregational beginnings and the later Primitive Methodist church at both the Old Surrey Chapel and the new building known as the New Surrey Chapel.
During the same period as Rowland Hill was ministering at the Old Surrey Chapel, some Particular Baptists began a meeting in 1785 at a house in Green Walk (now Church Street) off the Blackfriars Road. Their first preacher was the Revd James Upton, who continued in that post till 1834. In 1860 the London Chatham and Dover Railway wanted the land for its Metropolitan extension, and 1862 saw the closing services at Church Street. By 1863 they had found a site in Barkham Terrace, Lambeth Road - just opposite the present Imerial War Museum. The new chapel was opened in 1864, and was named UPTON CHAPEL. The building stood till the Second World War, when it suffered damage, and was finally demolished in 1952. As a result of the war damage nearly all the old records perished. (For the material in this paragraph see S.J. PRICE: "Upton": the story of one hundred and fifty years, 1785-1935").
Only the spire remains of Christ Church, but this was retained as a well-known landmark when a new church was built in Westminster Bridge Road after the Second World War. During the war Christ Church and Upton Chapel congregations united as "Christ Church and Upton Chapel". Because of the original connection with the Surrey Chapel, the depositor's list of 1793 and the volumes to which it relates have all been marked in pencil "SU". This is apart from the proper Archive number, IV/61, also on all volumes.
The overwhelming bulk of the records relate to Surrey Chapel and Christ Church. For this reason, only the Upton Chapel, and the few united records, are distinguished respectively as IV/61/A and B. Minute Books proliferate: only those of the Elders, and Trustees, and the Sunday School have been placed under the Administrative section, together with various registers showing the membership of the church. Minute Books of other committees or societies have been placed under IV/61/4. The main divisions are:-
IV/61/3. Legal (hardly anything received in this category)