When the Church was built there was no passage way between Effingham and Belmont Road. It was not until 1889 that the Bristol Corporation bought a strip of land from the Church for £150 to create a through route to give access to the Gloucester Road for the new inhabitants of St. Andrews.
The Rev. David Thomas never preached in the Church. After many years of poor health he died in 1875. After his death a number of trusts were established and it was decided that the new Bishopston Church would be part of his memorial.
David Thomas was born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1811. His father died when David was a child and it was left to his mother to raise him in a devout and strict non conformist tradition. He left Wales to train in the Ministry and was then appointed to the Zion Church in Bedminster. He married but his wife died aged 21 within a year of their marriage. The Rev. Thomas married again and raised a family but ill health forced him to leave Bristol with his family and seek convalescence abroad. He retuned in better health and was appointed as Pastor at the Highbury Congregational Church in Cotham where he remained for 30 years until his death..
The Rev. Thomas was a quiet, devout Christian who was respected locally and in the national Congregational movement. He built a committed and extensive Church community in Cotham and his death was reported widely.
David Thomas Memorial Church
David Thomas Memorial Church, widely known as DTM, dates from
1878 when a school hall was built on open fields that stretched from
North Road to the Muller Orphanages on Ashley Down. The site
chosen was a prominent position at the top of a steep slope
(Overton Road). ). In 1881 the west facade in a gothic style and
the spire had been added and the Rev. William Clarkson appointed
as the first Minister.
Post card from about 1910
The rear of the Church was on what is now Effingham Road
St. Andrews but at the time of the Church’s design and construction
St. Andrews had not been developed. DTM was built to cater for
the needs of the expanding South Bishopston population that had
grown as a result of the building of the Clifton Extension Railway
and the housing that sprung up as Gloucester Road developed
and expanded north.