Our History

In 2018 we celebrate our 80th Birthday!

Find out more about the history of the Good Shepherd below.

The Church and its life through the decades (1930s)

The area of Shelthorpe as we know it was once heathland on the outskirts of the town of Loughborough. Between 1926 and 1939, the building of the housing estate commenced.

The houses were built by the council to a very high standard, the area provided public open spaces and the estate became one of the first “garden estates” the development was visited by many people from this country and abroad who came to see this new vision of housing.

The housing development became known as the Shelthorpe Estate.

The old isolation hospital was constructed of corrugated iron and became affectionately known as “the Tin Tabernacle”. Initially one service a week was held here with the service led by a Lay reader, music played on an old harmonium and there was a choir of 10 boys.
 
The room was heated by an old coke stove in the centre of the building.
Although only one service a week was held, other activities were strongly supported. In 1932 a group of ladies formed the Women’s Friendly, there were 120 members on the books and their meetings involved guest speakers, social events and mystery trips.
 
A small group of these ladies had a vision for the building of a new Mission Room, a building that could be used for Worship as well as social activity. On December 18th 1937 the foundation stone for the Church as we now know it was laid.
 
The stone was laid by the Bishop of Leicester Dr Cyril Bardsley.
The opening of the Mission Room as it was known at the time took place on May 7th 1938. The Service was led by The Bishop of Leicester. The main room of building was 45 feet long, and a blue velvet curtain separated the Sanctuary. This curtain was opened for Worship Services and closed for social events.
 
It was in 1930 that the Rector of Emmanuel asked the congregation to help to reach out to the people of Shelthorpe and establish a place of worship.
 
At the time an old isolation hospital stood on land adjacent to Ling Road, and it was in this building that the first worship service in Shelthorpe took place.

The Church and its life through the decades (1950s to 1970s)
 
By the late 1950’s it was felt that there was a need to build a new building to house the many social events that were taking place. The Church Council sought quotes for the building of a new Church Hall and the contract to build a 25 feet by 50 feet wooden building was given to Harlow Bros Long Whatton at a cost of £1182.
 
The Hall was dedicated and opened by the Bishop of Leicester the Rt. Rev. R.R. Williams on October 9th 1959.  An extension to the hall was built a few years later to provide room to accommodate a stage area.
 
The next significant stage in the life of The Good Shepherd came on May 23rd 1969, when Her Majesty the Queen signed an order in council that separated us from the Parish of Emmanuel and created the Parish of The Good Shepherd.
 
In the mid 1970’s the church started to think about its need to create more room in the building and to make it more open. Work started on a process of church re ordering.
 
This work involved the building of 2 new vestries at the rear of the church, creating a vestibule area at the entrance to the church by demolishing 2 small rooms and a kitchen and opening up the sanctuary by demolishing 2 small store rooms either side.
 
A service of consecration to commemorate the re ordering was held on October 2nd 1979.
 
The Church and its life through the decades (1990s)
 
Music for Services was provided initially by a harmonium. In 1945/46 a gift of the Misses Clarks of the Gables Forest Road saw the installation of a pipe organ. This was originally powered by water, but later converted to an electric motor drive.
 
The pipe organ was eventually removed in 1993 after it became too expensive to repair and maintain.
 
A major setback for the church occurred on the evening of December 4th 1994 when a fire destroyed the storeroom building and the rear of the church hall.
 
Although fully insured it was decided to raise additional money to extend the hall rearwards to provide additional and much needed storage, and an enclosed area linking the church to the hall.
 
In 1996 the purchase of additional land to the rear of the church from a neighbour took place. The vision at the time was to build a new church building on the land and utilise the present church as a hall, also importantly to create additional car parking.
 
Following the purchase of the land a working group set to and fenced off the whole area of land.  This huge area of land to the rear of the church provides a great deal of potential for future development.