A service will take place in a Warrington chapel on Sunday to mark the role its congregation played in fighting slavery.

The middle of the 19th century saw plans to redevelop Cairo Street Unitarian Chapel in the town centre into the chapel which stands today.

While under the leadership of Rev Phillip Pearsall Carpenter, the church members backed a campaign for social change far away from Warrington.

And on Sunday, the current Rev Bob Janis-Dillon will host a service at 10.30am which will commemorate Martin Luther King, whose National Day is on Monday, January 20 and the Chapel’s long history in combating slavery and oppression.

Mr Pearsall Carpenter travelled to the southern states of America to see the conditions of slaves for himself. In 1859, he visited the southern states of the USA and defied the threat of being tarred and feathered to lecture against slavery.

In 1858, William Robson, who is now buried in the grounds of the chapel, travelled to America to campaign against slavery.

There he met in Boston Charles Remond and his sister Sarah Parker Remond, an internationalist activist for human rights and women’s suffrage. William was instrumental in persuading Sarah to travel to England via Warrington to gather support for the abolitionist cause in the United States.

He also met William Lloyd Garrison, one of America's most prominent abolitionists. William continued to correspond with William Lloyd Garrison for many years and in August 1877, Garrison visited William at Lymm, where he now lived, where a banquet was given in his honour.

It is acknowledged that the Warrington Anti-Slavery Society, with its many members from Cairo Street, was one of the most active in the UK. Ann Robson was the treasurer of the society raising funds for the freedom line which assisted slaves fleeing from the southern states to freedom in the north.

Robert Gaskell, Ann’s brother, was secretary of the Warrington Anti-slavery Society. Robert's wife Susan, sister of Rev Phillip Pearsall Carpenter was also deeply involved in the society organising bazaars and fundraising events.

At the packed meetings held in Warrington chaired by Robert when Sarah Parker Remond spoke of the conditions of slavery. Such was the support for the anti slavery cause in Warrington that 3,522 signatures opposing slavery were obtained and sent to America. It was stated at the time that the vast majority of the signatures were from the working class.

All are very welcome to attend the service on Sunday.