The end days of a local Chapel

Here’s some images I had in with set from top local photographer and friend of the blog Peter Booth, who sent me a remarkable and very popular bunch of scans last week of the 1972 Brownhills Carnival, with these of the Wesleyan Church included.

Image kindly shared by Steve Craddock via Peter Booth.

The pictures were donated by Steve Craddock from a collection taken by his father, Roy Craddock. The Craddock family were very much involved in the drive to construct the Silver Street Methodist Church in Brownhills that replaced the Wesleyan Chapel and Mount Zion, two methodist churches in Brownhills High Street which were due to be lost to redevelopment.

I featured a remarkable set showing the construction of Silver Street Church from Fred Booth a few days ago here.

These are remarkably good photos, beautifully scanned and restored by Peter. They are fantastically clear and there is some absolutely stunning detail which I’ll leave readers to find and debate.

Like Mount Zion, there are few good images of the Wesleyan Chapel so these images are remarkable. This postcard, looking up the High Street towards Anchor Bridge, shows the chapel on the right.

I’ve covered this chapel before in this article.

The Wesleyan Chapel was built in 1896 and stood on the north corner of Pier Street just opposite, and on the same side of the High Street as Provost Chemist, now a bathroom and plumbing shop. The land is currently vacant. Like Mount Zion, it was a remarkably austere building in the common local mMethodist Style; the Wesleyan was in very dark red terracotta brick and Mount Zion in blue Utopia.

Image kindly shared by Steve Craddock via Peter Booth.

Peter said:

Hello Bob

Had these photos donated to me a couple of weeks ago some of the old Wesleyan Chapel in the High Street.

The chapel is 1967/68, these were donated to me by Steve Craddock taken by his Dad Roy he found them while sorting through his Dads old slides and thought they might be of interest to me.

There are quite a few more of the building of the Methodist church in silver street that once I’ve cleaned up and sorted I will send you.

These so far have cleaned up well showing a lot of detail.

 Regards Peter Booth  

Image kindly shared by Steve Craddock via Peter Booth.

Again, my thanks and gratitude to Peter, it’s a pleasure and an honour to feature material of this quality here – and a special thank you to the Craddock family for sharing some photos I thought we’d never see. Wonderful stuff. Thank you.

If readers have anything to add, please do comment here or mail me: Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

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7 Responses to The end days of a local Chapel

  1. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    these are beautiful images of the old Brownhills HIgh Street Wesleyan Methodist Church…and one detail raises a mystery not apparent until their publication

    Over on the Watling Street we know that the Wesleyan Church, Prk View congregation had bought land to build their chapel in 1866, and that just along the way Mount Pleasant Primitive Methodist Church was built in 1867..

    Here in Brownhills ( central ) we know that the first Primitive Methodist Church was built at Catshill..present-day Ogley Road before 1857 when the Primitive Methodists built their replacement church, Mount Zion, further along the way, and that this was modified/enlarged in the 1890s

    And yet, it was not until 1896 , seemingly,that the Wesleyan church seen in these images was built.

    A mystery…… a lost Wesleyan Church, pre-1896?

    many thanks for posting these remarkable, clear colour images

    kind regards

    David.

  2. David Evans says:

    District News

    The Wesleyan Chapel. On Tuesday evening the Rev J R Imission ( who has been attending the Wesleyan Conference in Birmingham ) preached in the Brownhills Wesleyan Chapel, when a collection was made of the new school
    Lichfield Mercury 27 July 1894

  3. David Evans says:

    New Wesleyan Sunday School at Brownhills

    Owing to the great necessity for increased school accommodation in connection with the Wesleyan Chapel at Brownhills, steps were taken some time ago by the members of the congregation to meet this long felt want, and a bazaar was held with the result that the building fund was substantially augmented. A building committees was afterwards formed. The work was shortly afterwards commenced, it having been decided to erect a Sunday School to accommodate between three and four hundred children, this being a marked improvement on the old building which was really only large enough for scarcely half the scholars on the books. The new building will consist of a large room the dimensions of which will be 43ft 6 inches by 28ft 6 inches, and two classrooms occupying a space of 14 ft 6 inches by 9 ft 6 inches, together with a kitchen, cellar, and heating apparatus.

    The ceremony of laying the memorial stones took place on Monday afternoon, in the presence of a large assembly of members and friends of the congregation and in beautifully fine weather. Shortly before the time appointed for the proceedings to commence, the Brownhills Town Band, the members of which gave their services voluntarily, paraded the streets, under the conductorship of Mr C Craddock, and discoursed lively strains, after which they took up their places on the platform and rendered useful service in accompanying the singing of the hymns, the proceedings being opened with sacred melody.
    A collection was taken at the close of the meeting which brought the total subscriptions, with an estimated amount of £10 for the proceeds from the tea, to £267 9 shillings.

    Lichfield Mercury, 31 May 1895

  4. David Evans says:

    Brownhills Wesleyan Sale of Work

    On Monday a sale of work, the proceeds of which are to be devoted to the alteration and renovation of the Wesleyan Chapel, was opened in the schoolroom, which had been most tastefully decorated by member and friends. There was a large attendance at the opening ceremony, at which the Rev M Thompson officiated,….. after which Councillor H Carlin proceeded to open the sale of work and spoke in praiseworthy terms of the efforts the Wesleyans of Brownhills were making in improving and renovating their place of worship.

    Lichfield Mercury 31 March 1896

  5. David Evans says:

    Returns of Accommodation provided in Wesleyan Methodist Chapels, first survey, 1873

    Birmingham and Shrewsbury District, Walsall Wesley Circuit, number 311. chapel and membership;-
    Walsall, 1410 ; Pelsall, 600; Great Barr,162; Palfrey, 139; Aldridge, 160; Brownhills, 224; Walsall Wood,200; Shelfield,100; Heath End, 100
    ( 1851 survey….Hill Hook, 25; Barr Beacon, 25.)

  6. David Evans says:

    The blog article, “Nothing primitive”, 2 January 2013 contains a page from David Vodden’s book, “Around Pelsall and Brownhills in old photographs,” which is quite revealing…re;- the land on which this chapel stood.

  7. Ann Swindale says:

    As a former member of the present Silver St Church I was very interested to see these. I wonder if Peter could also share them on https://www.flickr.com/people/britishmethodistbuildings/ which is a site run by the Oxford Centre for Methodist Church History at Oxford Brookes University. They will put them up with basic information and Flickr users can add memories and other information. It is so important that we keep a record of our past. The present church is already on there. Submissions should be sent to bmb.ocmch.@brookes.ac.uk

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