I had rather be a scavenger on the streets of London, than bear the name of a Christian minister and be doing nothing for God 1
The following chapters consider the work of three Calvinists in different London urban contexts. The sheer variety of metropolitan conditions renders simple description and analysis of the capital as a whole difficult. (Indeed, until the foundation of the London County Council in 1888, London as an entity did not formally exist outside the bounds of the ancient City of London. 2) Instead, the following chapters focus upon Calvinists working in three well-defined, and representative, London environments—the suburb of Camberwell, South London, and the East End. Each of these discrete contexts will be discussed in detail, along with the ministry conducted in that locality. In this way, the nuances of the interaction between people and theology in places possessing a strong local identity can be most helpfully illustrated. The first of the studies concerns the work of a high Calvinist in a suburban location.
Between the years 1819 and 1852 Joseph Irons served as the eminent and successful minister of Grove Chapel, Camberwell. A controversial figure, he was often criticized for his determinedly held high-Calvinistic views, particularly for his reputed antinomianism. Whilst Irons's ministry contains a significant number of points of correspondence with other high Calvinists, there are also notable differences, in part caused by local factors. A significant element of Irons's overall thinking and action was his vehement anti-Catholicism, developed to a degree far beyond other high Calvinists. Study of Irons's ministry also affords opportunity to