Monday, 4 July 2016

THE WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH, LEWIN STREET, circa 1973

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(This diary entry incorporates one from 7th July 2011, which has now been deleted)

We're dating this photo from the Paul Hough Collection as 1973 because of the tell-tale signs of recent demolition to the right. It's the unmistakeable frontage of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Lewin Street, with its 'four-pronged' tower.
Of the buildings in this part of Lewin Street, Seddon's wagon repair shop and associated buildings, which were to the right of this splendid building, were the first to go - a fact that enabled us to more accurately date this slide by Jack Stanier - and the few bits of rubble on the right are all that was left of those buildings when this photograph was taken.
Our regular contributor Bill Eaton tells us that those stone gateposts from the front of the church now perform the same function outside Ravenscroft Cottages in King Street, home of the late Frank Smith
The church was built of a particularly attractive type of red brick with stone trimmings and, when the weather conditions were right, perhaps towards sunset on a Summer day, looked positively resplendent.
We were able, with the aid of the irreplaceable Kodachrome film, to capture something of that elusive quality in this slide:

© Salt Town Productions 2011

In its heyday the interior of the church was as magnificent as its exterior.



Although this poor quality image can't really do it justice, you can get something of an inkling of the Victorian splendour of the inside of the church.
According to information obtained in the 1990s from Messrs Andrews and Williams, authors of a book about Middlewich, several features of the interior were saved and can be found in other places of worship: The pipe organ was installed in Lostock Gralam Chapel; several pews found their way to Rudheath and Lach Dennis, and a prayer desk from the church is now in the Lady Chapel, across the road at St Michael & All Angels.
As regular Middlewich Diary readers will know, the Salinae Centre and its associated grounds now occupy this site, as mentioned in this entry showing the Seddon's site next door.
To see how the chapel fitted into its surroundings see this entry.
This attractive building replaced an earlier one on the same site.

The original Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Lewin Street (Photo courtesy of Paul Hurley/Mid-Cheshire Through Time). According to Allan Earl this building was demolished 'around 1905'.
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Geraldine Williams Brings back memories of my Gran. It was on her circuit of all the harvest festivals in the town.
Might it have been built at the same time as the Victoria Building (Technical School) - a similar ornate red-brick edifice which was, presumably, a Diamond Jubilee commemoration of something similar?

Jain Talbot Why was it pulled down? Such a beautiful building.

Dave Roberts In common with all the buildings in that part of Lewin Street it had become unsafe. This chapel, and the adjacent school, were large, heavy buildings, and the ground they were built on unstable. It also sloped steeply away from road level down to what had been the Croco Valley (shared with the canal by the time these buildings were erected). You'll notice that Salinae has been built at a lower level to partly compensate for the slope.

Originally published 14th March 2012
Updated and re-published 4th July 2016




3 comments:

  1. one great building l can remember many many years ago when l was at the infant school a little down the road next to the paper shop can't remember the name of it now think it was gibbons or some thing like that. those in my class had lessons in the chapel for a bit as i think the infant school was having work done or just over crowding, can't remember now but it was one great building like many others which were in middlewich and now sadly gone . keep up the good work Dave with the old pic's of bye gone middlewich .

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  2. Thanks for sharing this fascinating history, Dave! It is all fuel for the imagination in my adopted home town ��

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  3. hi dave although the chapel as gone from lewin street the two sandstone gate pillers were saved by frank smith and now stand at the entrance to ravenscroft cottages

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