‘Beeston Free’ was born from the idea of a Methodist Minister, Tom Jones, who came to Beeston in 1940. He was born in Filey, Yorkshire, in 1891. At the age of thirty he trained for the Methodist Ministry at Cliff College, Derbyshire. Before coming to Beeston he had worked in Nova Scotia, Bermuda, USA and the UK in the Methodist Ministry.
Tom Jones served at the Wollaton Road Methodist Church Beeston for three years. However, in 1943, due to restructuring of the Methodist Circuits he decided with the church’s agreement to move on. With friends, four acres of land on Broadgate Beeston were acquired for £4000, plus a marquee in which they held regular meetings. The intention was to erect a permanent church building on the site but the Second World War years made it difficult to get hold of building material. A temporary building of single brick was eventually built and from 1946 this served as a meeting house until 1972 when a new church building was erected.
The church had become affiliated to The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC); a grouping of independent churches who all accepted the same Basis of Faith.
The 1940s and 1950s passed and these were years, which saw many changes in the work at Beeston Free Church. Financially they were difficult times but the work continued under Tom Jones until he retired from the pastorate in 1962. During the 1960’s the possibility of selling part of the land and erecting a new building was discussed, but it was not until 1971 that the land was sold for £33,000 and a new building was erected at a cost £29,800. The building was opened in September 1972. The membership at that time was in the twenties.
On 17 March 1978 the founder Tom Jones died. His funeral service was a time of expression of thankfulness to God for a life of ministry in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord honoured his faithfulness and perseverance and the work at Beeston continued to grow.
The church site is located very close to the main Nottingham University campus and consequently has attracted students from the university since the 1950’s. Due to the growing number of students studying at Nottingham, ‘Beeston Free’ as the church is known today, has increasing numbers of students attending including international students. Many of these students become members and some have remained in the area to pursue their careers.
The increase in attendance and activities reached a critical point toward the end of the 1990’s and a building extension was considered. As the new millennium dawned work on the extension began and was completed in 2002. Attendance continues to grow along with an increase in membership. The overall work of the church has expanded so that it has been necessary to consider increasing the full and part time staff.
Those who have served full or part time in Ministry at Beeston Free: Tom Jones 1944-1962, Bernard Lambert (Asst.) 1945-1948, James Nolan (Asst.), 1956-1960, Edward Paisley 1963-1966, Fraser Harding 1973-1975, Lacksman Peiris 1981-1982, Keith Morris 1982-1983, Keith Mawdsley 1984-1998, Andy Gemmill 1998-2011, Will Timmins 2000-2005, Craig Langstaff 2006-2015. In this concise history the names of the many hundreds of people who have contributed their time and financial support are not recorded. The Church members today are thankful to God for the faithful witness and courage of all these people who by their example provide strength and encouragement for the church today as it faces new challenges.