1. Lord John Russell, Prime minister 1846-1852, 1865/66
2. William Gladstone, Prime minister 1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, 1892-1894
In January 1882 Gladstone requested a reserved seat in the Tabernacle to hear his friend Spurgeon preach. He arrived early with his son and sat in the vestry with Spurgeon until the service. Following the visit, the PM’s enemies criticised him as an Anglican for visiting a Dissenting Chapel. This did not deter Gladstone from inviting Spurgeon, on several occasions, to Downing Street for breakfast or lunch. The two split politically in 1886 over giving Home Rule to Ireland.
3. John Ruskin the art critic
Ruskin and Spurgeon shared social concerns and were firm friends. Ruskin regularly attended Spurgeon’s Surrey Gardens Music Hall services, and when Spurgeon was ill he visited him with gifts of pictures. Ruskin gave Spurgeon a complete set of his Modern Painters which the preacher annotated and frequently quoted. Letters and visits were exchanged over the years, and when The Metropolitan Tabernacle was being built, Ruskin contributed 100 guineas, a considerable sum in those days.
4. George Eliot the female novelist
5. Matthew Arnold the poet and cultural commentator (who mentions Spurgeon several times in his Culture and Anarchy)
6. Queen Victoria (in disguise, allegedly)
7. Lord Shaftesbury the political reformer
8. David Livingstone the missionary and explorer
9. H H Asquith MP (Later Prime minister)
10. David Lloyd-George (later Prime-minister) in 1884 and 1888