The foundation in Basingstoke of our United Reformed Church (then Independent, and later renamed Congregational) dates back at least as far as 1663, when an Independent Community was formed in Basingstoke shortly after the Act of Uniformity in 1662. As a result of that Act, some 2,000 ministers of the then Established Church resigned their livings rather than be untrue to their conscience and beliefs. One of these men, the Reverend John Hook, a member of a Hampshire family, ministered to the Independent Community in Basingstoke from 1663 until his death in 1710. The first regular "Meeting House" where the Church assembled in 1695 was in Cross Street.
Our own building was originally known as the "London Street Meeting House" and was begun in 1800. It was opened on 25 August 1801, under the pastorate of the Reverend Joseph Jefferson, who has been described as a poetical and antiquarian writer, as well as an earnest and successful minister.
The Evangelical Magazine of October 1801 gives the following account of the opening services:
"August 25th - A well-built and commodious Independent Meeting House was opened at Basingstoke, Hants. The services of the day commenced at an early hour in the morning with prayer, as preparatory to the more public work. The forenoon service began with prayer ... In the evening ... engaged in prayer ... Mr. Jefferson, the pastor of the place, concluded the pleasing and solemn services of the day. The glory of the former house has not been little in the faithful preaching of the Gospel, by a succession of ten pastors, from the time of the Reverend J. Hook (one of 2000 worthies ejected in 1662) to the present day. May the glory of this latter house be greater than that of the former! "
The building has seen many changes over the years. It was enlarged in 1854, a new front was added in 1860 and in 1882, the interior was completely renovated. The School Room (known in more recent years as the lounge) was built in 1838/9 and vaults were also constructed. The School Room was much enlarged and classrooms were added in 1870, while seven further class rooms and an improved Vestry were constructed in 1888. 1928 saw the formation of the Dais (then referred to as the Rostrum) and alterations to the Choir Stalls.
A new Organ was installed in 1962 with side console. The pipes, etc. were installed in the balcony and the pulpit was remodelled and placed at the side, enabling the Apse (where the previous pipe Organ had been sited) to be opened up. 1978 saw the installation of the Copeman Hart Organ and in later years the Choir Pews were removed, thus enlarging the Dais area.
Work was carried out on the roof in 1980, and in 1981 the interior of the Sanctuary was re-decorated. The lighting of the Sanctuary has been improved on various occasions, progressing to lights set into the ceiling. In 1981/2 the Den area (in the basement) was the scene of extensive work, and alterations were made in the rooms at first floor level.