SCENES from the life of Rawdon’s baptist community are shown in these photographs dating back as far as Victorian times.

The first baptist chapel was built in Rawdon more than 300 years ago and the area was also the site of a large and impressive baptist training college.

These photographs from Aireborough Historical Society give an insight into the buildings and people of the church.

The college, on Woodlands Drive, was opened in 1859, and was designed by architect J H Paul of Cardiff. The land was bought from Robert Milligan who gave half of the purchase price back to the baptists. It is believed Sir Titus Salt attended the opening of the college. The Rev James Ackworth, pictured, was a principal at the college.

It was closed in the 1970s and it was converted into 17 apartments in the 1980s.

The striking building is one of the views on the top right of this undated postcard, which was donated to Aireborough Historical Society by Isabel Douglas.

Also pictured are Woodleigh Hall, top left, and Woodlands Convalescent Home, bottom left, which cared for wounded servicemen in both world wars.

Built in 1877, it was a convalescent home for servicemen until 1951when it became an orthopaedic hospital. It was finally closed in 1993 and was later converted into apartments.

The Wishing Gate in Cragg Wood can be seen bottom right, and the Emmott Arms pub is in the centre. The pub, on Town Street, was built in the 1700s and was named after a prominent Rawdon family.

In 1822 the landlord was William Dennison, followed by John Dennison in 1853 then Jas Marshall in 1861

Rawdon Baptist Chapel played an important role in the life of local people, and a photograph from 1893 shows children and adults who attended the chapel posing for a photograph at Whitsuntide.

The original chapel was built in 1712. Stone from that building was used in 1765 to build a second chapel, known at Buckstone Chapel, on Micklefield Lane. The third chapel was built on the site of Buckstone Chapel in 1892.

The chapel continued to be used until the early 1970s when the Baptists, Congregationalists and Methodists combined to form Trinity Church.

One picture, top right, shows a large gathering outside the chapel doors in 1900.

Another photograph taken on a rainy day in June 26, 1912, shows the rededication of the old chapel and burial ground on the 200th anniversary of the date it was built in 1712.

The chapel clearly had a focus on the health of the body as well as the health of the soul - as this picture of a group of men forming a human pyramid shows.

The photograph of the Baptist Chapel Physical Improvement Society was donated to Aireborough Historical Society by archivist Carlo Harrison.

A group of children are pictured at the Baptist Primary School in July 1949.

Non-conformist worship in Rawdon has a long history - stretching back before the building of the first Baptist church.

At a time when non-conformism was outlawed secret services were held in the shadow of Buckstone Rock.

Worshippers risked breaking the law to worship in the style they chose rather than follow the doctrine of the Church of England.

Those early clandestine meetings were later commemorated each year with an annual open air service at Buckstone Rock, which is now overlooked by the club house at Rawdon Golf Club.