Pountney Street Wesleyan Methodist
by Peter Hickman
(From the records held in
Primitive Methodist Chapel
Pountney Street Chapel building still stands (January 2003) on the
corner of Thomas Street. It was opened in 1893 as a mission hall in the
Darlington Street Wesleyan Methodist Circuit. At the first Trustees
meeting, on Wednesday 8th November in that year with Rev J Prescott in
the chair, the following Trustees were elected. Mr F C Harriman (
Secretary)-Mr Geo Reed (Treasurer)-Mr James and Mr Bell as Chapel
stewards together with Mr Sydney Reed to act as an Executive Committee.
Other Trustees were Messrs. J W Sankey-S M Wright-N Frost-J C Miller and
J P Haslam.
Mrs Mary Jones of 1 Little Pountney Street was appointed as Caretaker
at a weekly wage of 3/- per week to be paid every four weeks with one
months notice to be given either way.
Sunday Schools were held both in the morning and the afternoon with
Divine Worship in the evening. A weekly meeting for mothers was begun,
also a young women’s Guild run by Mrs Gibbs. The Trustees also gave
permission for a regular Saturday evening entertainment, and added that
the Vestry may be used as a smoke room if so desired!!
The Chapel thrived so that by 1901 sufficient funds were available not
only to pay off the debt on the building but also to provide for the
renovation of the hall. Matters of finance from then on seem to have
been a problem solved by the generosity of the Treasurer who annually
made an ongoing loan of around £30 up to his death in 1914 when
£16-7-0 still owed. This sum was finally paid to his widow in
1918. In 1923 the question of Methodist Reunion was discussed, but while
agreeing in principle the Trustees felt that the matter should be
deferred to a future date.
1924 saw the Caretaker getting a rise to 4/- per week.
The Sunday school seems to have been very successful with 40-60 on the
roll and there were thoughts of putting a second storey on the building.
However the 1920’s and 1930’s saw major redevelopment of the area, which
involved the many narrow streets of terrace houses giving way to the
multitude of small, and medium sized factories, which we see today.
The Trust was renewed in 1930 with 17 men, but not one of them lived
within a mile of the Chapel. Throughout the 1935-45 War, Sunday School
attendance continued in the 40’s both morning and afternoon, but
maintaining the necessary number of Teachers was becoming a problem.
Staff reduced from 8 in 1938 to 3 or 4 by 1946. The congregation was
similarly fewer in number.
On 7th October 1949, a combined meeting of Leaders and Trustees chaired
by the Circuit Superintendent Rev Dr Eric Parsons with the Minister Rev
Robert O Moate came to the conclusion that since the Chapel was no
longer serving a surrounding residential area they should close. This
was accepted with some reluctance, the vote being 5 Trustees for
closure, one against and one abstaining.
Many of the folk moved their membership to Bethel and Ranelagh Road,
among them Mr Terry Bowen, now the Caretaker of St John’s Parkfield who
was a seven year old Sunday School Scholar at the time. Are there any
others still around?
Dr Parsons asked that the names of Pountney Street workers should be
recorded in the Minute Book when the final meeting was held on October
20th 1950. These were: -
Mrs Lee-Mrs Padden-Miss Farmer_Mr A H Harrold (Secretary for 33
years)-J Morris-F Morris-E A Ward-G Costley-H G Harwood-S J Jones- C
Watkiss-F Watkiss-A Astbury- G Whittaker-Mrs Wainwright (Caretaker)- J A
Matthews-W J Whitehouse.
The funds of the Chapel amounting to stock worth £1934-13-0 were
sent to Department of Methodist Church Purposes Manchester.
Return to main Pountney Street