Robert Leonard Child was born 1891 in Tidenham, the son of Joseph and Mary Child of Chepstow. He was educated in Chepstow before moving on to Newport High School.
Leonard was a member of a family long attached to the Baptist Church at Chepstow.
In 1909 he entered the Civil Service and became an officer in Customs and Excise, serving at the following locations between 1912 and 1920.
1912 - 1913
|Year||RLC||Assistant||Bristol||1914 - 1915|
|Year||RLC||Assistant||Newport||1917 – 1919|
(We are grateful to the Border Force Museum for this information)
When he was settled in Aberdare, he was deeply impressed by the ministry of Rev. Thomas Edmunds and was baptised. He followed this by Attended Regents College, London, and graduated in 1922 as a Bachelor of Divinity at London University. In1923 he gained a First Class Honours degree in Theology and moved to Mansfield College, Oxford with the Baptist Union Scholarship and also spent a semester at Marburg University, Germany.
From 1926-1934 he was Minister of St. Andrews Street Church, Cambridge, and from 1934-1942 he was a Minister at Broadmead Chapel in Bristol.
Between 1942 and 1958 he was Principal of Regent’s Park College, Oxford, where he lived with his mother and sister Freda.
In 1954 he became President of the Baptist Union. He visited Sweden with a group of Quakers to confer with Russian Baptist Leaders and in 1955 he visited America.
From 1958-1965 he was Chairman of the Overseas Aid Committee for Oxfam.
He spent his retirement in Oxford and in 1969 he attended the opening services of the new Broadmead Church in Bristol.
He died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 79 on the night 1st/2nd January 1971, after a long and proud history of service, being described once as “a man of courage and integrity”.