|"During this period of fragmentation the
Wesleyan Church was, by some distance, the
largest Methodist group. In 1897 Reginald Perks,
MP for Louth in Lincolnshire, proposed the
setting up of a 'One Million Guinea Fund' -
£1.1s. (£1.05) from each of the one million
Wesleyans - to purchase a site in central London
to build a world centre of Wesleyan Methodism and
to expand the mission of the Wesleyan Church at
home and overseas.
On 8 November, 1898, the One Million Guinea Fund (also known as the Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Fund) was officially launched at Wesley's Chapel in City Road, London. No-one was allowed to donate more than one guinea, but a donation could also be made 'in memoriam' in the name of a loved one who had died or who had emigrated. Sunday School scholars were encouraged to contribute one shilling each.
The fund-raising committee decided to ask all donors to write their names and addresses on special pages which were distributed to all churches and circuits (groups of churches) in the Wesleyan Church in England, Wales, Scotland and overseas. The overseas circuits included India, China, Hong Kong, South Africa and Gibraltar. When the pages were returned they were bound into 50 volumes which were called the Historic Roll. The volumes were arranged by district, then by circuit and church within each district. Altogether the volumes comprise over 17,000 pages containing the names of over 1,025,000 donors."
(From material supplied by Joyce Hidden)