the bustins and bermondsey gospel mission

The Bermondsey Gospel Mission was founded in 1864 by Walter Ryall. It was initially known as the London Street Mission. For over a century it provided a setting for worship and local activity. In more recent years the Mission building was used as a residence and base for young missionaries working with London City Mission. The Mission site was redeveloped in 2000/1 by LCM. It still provides a base for young missionaries, some training rooms and some flats for retired missionaries.

Bermondsey Gospel Mission also provided the setting for a remarkable family saga. Walter Ryall's daughter - known as Madam Annie Ryall - was a well known gospel singer. She and her husband William Bustin ran the Mission from 1891 to 1946. At that point her son, Cyril Bustin, took over as superintendent and ran the Mission until to 1962. He had worked for the Mission in one guise or another for most of his life. Cyril Bustin also wrote a fascinating memoir - From Silver Watch to Lovely Black Eye. A portion of this memoir deals with his experiences as an Assistant Relieving Officer under the closing years of the old Poor Law.

After Cyril Bustin, the mission was led by Donald Mills until it was closed by the trustees in 1967. The building was then taken over by London City Mission.

Reference: Humphrey, S. (2004) Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Remembered, Stroud: Tempus.

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