New Exhibition: Root and Branch

How 5 Shillings, Faith and Belief inspired the beginning of the Probation Service

Did you know the forerunner of the modern Probation Service was established in Victorian London with a donation of only five shillings?

This was a world where there was desperate poverty and hardship endured by many. Early work undertaken by missionaries included setting up jobs, accommodation and opportunities. Some of the tales are heart-breaking – a boy turned out onto the streets after his father sold his boots to buy beer. But there was hope!

Many were placed on farms and elsewhere and learned skills including poultry, pig and cattle farming as well as trades.

The exhibition is also about the professionalism of the present day Probation Service, which employs 19,000 people in England and Wales, managing almost a quarter of a million people on probation.

In this new touring exhibition from Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum you’ll learn the origins of the Probation Service and how early Christian values and principles behind the work would go on to be rolled out across the world.

Created in partnership with the Probation Service
Funded by the Association of Independent Museums
With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund


Exhibition Information

  • Dates: Monday 1 May – Saturday 29 June

  • Venue: The Museum at John Wesley’s New Room

  • Pricing: Free with normal admission


Visit Our Museum and Learn More About Wesley Brothers and Bristol!

The Museum at the New Room tells the story of John and Charles Wesley and eighteenth-century Methodism and its relevance today.

The museum is housed in the rooms that were originally constructed in 1748 to accommodate the Wesleys and the early Methodist preachers. As part of your visit you will see John Wesley’s study and bedroom, as well as the main parlour for the preachers.


John Wesley's New Room

John Wesley’s New Room is a heritage site in the heart of Bristol. It houses a museum, library, café, events and hire space. It is home to the original 18th century chapel that started the Methodist movement.

It also houses an award-winning Café and a vast reference Library. John Wesley’s New Room hosts a range of art, music and family events and is also available to hire.

Explore the Museum of John & Charles Wesley’s life and work in Bristol.

John Wesley’s New Room is the oldest Methodist building in the world, located right in the heart of Bristol city centre. Founded in 1739 by John Wesley, the New Room became the cradle of the worldwide Methodist movement.

This is the place that completes the story of Bristol. This is the Room that changed the World.

It is a place where everyone is welcome to explore, step back, take time, reconnect and recharge.

Learn more