Society of the Sacred Mission

The Golden age at Kelham

In the summer of 1903 the Society settled at Kelham Hall, a Victorian Gothic mansion (designed by Gilbert Scott) in a Nottinghamshire village.It had been the seat of the Manners - Sutton family till 1898.

It had no lighting except oil lamps, no heating except open fires and no water above ground floor, but there was room for 100 students and plenty of space for gardens an playing fields. Kelham remained the mother house of the Society for seventy years.

The Great Chapel was dedicated in 1928 and was a masterpiece. It was almost square with a great central dome,(62 feet across and 68 feet high) the second largest concrete dome in England. A few visitors said it reminded them of Stonehenge- massive, austere and mysterious.

Applications to Kelham dropped from 400 a year before the war to less than 40 students in 1971 and the college closed in 1973.

In 1974 Kelham including the Great Chapel was sold to Newark District Council as council offices. The deconsecrated chapel became available as a hall for hire.