The Rev. Thomas Spurgeon: 1858 - 1917.
Thomas was one of a pair of non-identical twins born to the famous preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his wife Susannah Thompson.
Charles Spurgeon Jr became the pastor of the Baptist Church at Greenwich in London while Thomas Spurgeon was pastor at Auckland from 1881 before returning to take over the London congregation following Charles' death in 1892.
Thomas was an impressive speaker and like his father, his preaching attracted people from other christian denominations. A much larger venue than the wooden church in Wellesley Street was eventually required and the Choral Hall on Symonds Street was rented as a temporary measure.
Spurgeon and Charles Blomfield headed the campaign to create a symbolic flagship structure for the country by erecting a new masonry church in a prominent location.
Eventually the site on the corner of Queen St and Karangahape Rd was decided upon and purchased - this position was chosen as the eventual building would be silhouetted against the skyline and plainly visible from the harbourside.
View up Queen Street showing the Tabernacle building upper right.
The Tabernacle was designed to seat 1,500 people and accommodate possibly a further 300 standing - Spurgeon made a fundraising trip back to the United Kingdom to secure contributions.
The Baptists were extremely proud of the fact that it was fully paid for on the day it was opened (other church congregations engaged in similar building projects invariably needed to service mortgages for many years).
The similarity of the Auckland building to the great church erected in London during his father's pastor ship there is probably not coincidental - although considerably smaller than the London Tabernacle the Auckland structure resembles it strongly.
The resulting building was one of the largest structures in the city and it's auditorium was the largest interior space as well until the completion of the Town Hall in 1911.