John Trevor

John Trevor

John Trevor was born in 1855. His mother died when he was a child and he was brought up by his Calvinist grandparents. He lost his faith in his early twenties but he was converted to Christianity by the Unitarian minister, Philip Wicksteed. For a while Trevor assisted Wicksteed at his chapel in Upper Brooke Street.

Converted to Socialism, Trevor founded the Labour Church in Manchester in October, 1891. Other Labour Churches were soon established in other industrial towns including Barnsley, Birmingham, Bradford, Bolton, Dundee, Halifax, Leeds, London, Nottingham, Oldham, Plymouth and Wolverhampton.

Trevor and his followers were Christian Socialists who believed that the labour movement could be the driving force in obtaining "the Kingdom of God on earth". Many of Britain's leading socialists were active in the Labour Church and included Keir Hardie, Ben Tillett, Tom Mann, Fred Jowett, Philip Snowdon and Margaret McMillan.

When a conference was held in Bradford to form the Independent Labour Party, Trevor organised a church service to accompany the event. It was estimated that over 5,000 people attended the service in the Bradford Labour Church.

In Manchester John Trevor ran a Shelter for the Homeless and provided a Cinderella Club for underprivileged children in the Deansgate area of the city. In January 1892, Trevor also began publishing a monthly magazine, The Labour Prophet. The motto on the cover was "God is our King" but later it changed to "Let labour be the basis of civil society'. This resulted in complaints as the word God was not included and eventually Trevor reverted to the original motto. The Labour Prophet continued until 1898 when it was replaced by the smaller, quarterly, Labour Church Record.