The new Salem Chapel was funded largely by a loan from Samuel (later Sir Samuel) Morton Peto. A Baptist himself, Peto was one of the great railway contractors of the Victorian age, responsible for laying around 750 miles of track in England and more than 2,300 miles globally. Peto’s company also built Nelson’s Column, in London. The man himself served as an MP for more than 20 years, resigning his seat in 1866, having been declared technically insolvent, although he was owed more than £1 million in unpaid debts.
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