Saturday, 21 June 2014

Haslingden's Methodist origins with Salem, King Street and Manchester Road Chapels


Salem Methodist Chapel, Regent Street
It certainly is some years back that has a "wee nipper" I used to hold hands with Mrs. Edna Bastow or Alice or her sister who then lived on Blackburn Road who kindly would lead the way to the Sunday School at the enormous (or what seemed so to a four or five year old) Salem Methodist Chapel, which used to be on Regent Street, just on the corner with Salem Street which runs up by the side of the old Public Hall. Nowadays on the same spot is built the St. James C of E School. My early memory was of the large organ pipes that faced you when you went up the steep steps and into the main Church Building.   It is so long ago now that I can't remember much of the buildings at the back and this is where the Sunday School was.

I can certainly remember the times when we would go to Blackpool and a large blue double decker bus belonging to Haslingden Corporation would be waiting at the front of the Church in readiness for our special trip!

I can also remember to the left hand side of the Chapel there was a couple of lovely little cottages, set back with gardens.  They must have also been demolished when they sadly demolished the Chapel.

I have now received this photo (below) from Allan Bradshaw showing the Salem Cricket team from 1926. (Further details below)

 (click over photo to enlarge)

Salem United Methodist Sunday School Team, who have won the championship of the B Division of Haslingden Sunday School Cricket League.  This is the team that Leslie Warburton, now of Haslingden Cricket Club, developed with:
BACK (Left to Right) - F. Rawlinson, Councillor J. Sharples (vice-president), J.R. Belshaw, Fred Kay, James Bradshaw, Lawrence Bradshaw, Roy Holden, Rev. J. Rutherford (President), Herbert Warburton.
FRONT: Robert Emison (sitting), James Bastow, W. Nuttall (captain), Thomas Green, Harry Bradshaw (sitting) PHOTO: by T. McCourt, Haslingden. (thanks to Jackie Ramsbottom for newspaper cutting which has the names printed)

I’m attaching a photo of the Salem Methodist cricket team of 1926 who appear to have just won the “cup” I don’t know if it was an inter- church competition confined to Haslingden or not. Perhaps someone knows.
My dad Jim Bradshaw and 2 of his brothers Harry and Lawrence are on the picture, does anyone know any of the others (see below)?
Also attached are pictures of his medal which my sister still wears on a necklace to this day! 
All the best Allan Bradshaw

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Email received 5th December 2014 from Jack Pilling, Mercer Crescent, Helmshore
"The man in the middle with the trophy is my father in law William Henry Nuttall who was an overlooker at Birtwistle's Cotton Mill in Grane Road. 
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Dear Bryan, 
Thanks for Haslingden Old and New.  You may remember me from HCSS, Salem Methodist and St James' school. 
I have just been looking at Alan Bradshaw's photograph of the Salem cricket team 1926.  My dad, Bob Emison, is on the left - cross-legged and the other person I recognise is Tom Green who is seated on the right with the cricket bat. 
I also have my dad's medal like that of Alan's sister, I think it will be for the championship of the Sunday School's league which I think ran into the 1950's.
David Emison (email received 6th July 2014)
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Hello Bryan.
I also remember David and his dad Bob from Salem and also the scouts I think and also them living in Townsend St near the bottom where its steep.
Going back to the cricket team picture my dad Jim is centre at the back, next to him on our right is my uncle Lawrence and sat on the right at the front is my uncle Harry who appears to be the stumper.
David recognizes Tom Green on the picture, I think he might be be Gerald Green's dad. Gerald had the fruit and veg shop on Manchester Rd next to Tomlinsons which was the subject of recent email you received. 
Allan (email received 9th July 2014)
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Medal front above
and medal rear below


Jeff Stevens has kindly sent in the photos below which are 1) The Salem Cricket Team and 2) A production done by the children of Salem Methodist  (approx 1952)
I have attached another photo, possible the Salem Sunday Cricket team.Again  my dad Norman is shown with the cup at his feet next to him is his older brother John, and then to his right Bob Emison.
(Jeff Stevens - received 14th July 2014)

I have attached a photo that I believe shows an event at the Salem Chapel from around the 1953 period
I think that David Emison might be the lad with the cushion to the right of the photo. My brother Bob stands next to the lady on the back row and that one next to the bespectacled lad on the left of picture is me!  Regards Jeff Stevens (14th July 2014)

"Jeff I think the lad on the left on the back row between you and your Bob might even be yours truly!"  I can also recognize Jimmy Greenwood (the tall lad with glasses and stood up to the left side), and Lynn Hargreaves (Rose Queen) in the centre with her sister to the right of David on the front.  There are others also which look very familiar.


Hi Bryan - The boy with the spectacles on the third from the right (middle row) was called Peter Jenkins, he lived in Spring Gardens. He went to the Swimming Club when we did and 
I think he was in the schoolboys squadron team at one time - late forties early fifties. I believe he later worked at the baths. Don't recognise anyone else.  Marie Ives. - 

The lad who is fourth from the right on the middle row is Michael Whittaker and his dad was called Arnold Whittaker, who used to be the caretaker of the Church at the time. Michael remembers helping his dad to shovel the coke down the shute at the side of the Chapel when it was delivered for the boiler. It seemed a endless task because they delivered tons of the stuff at the time. (information kindly from Michael Whittaker on 16th July 2015)


Also we have several photos of the Salem UMFC choir with their production of Iolanthe in 1929. Because of the large quantity I have already moved them over to the photo album (external hosting site) which can be accessed here.  If you want to check them out please click here and select image and then enlarge if necessary. when finished just keep clicking back button to return to blog - Here are the notes to accompany the photos for the Iolanthe production:  The Lord Chancellor (Ben Stevenson) and the Earl of Mountararat and Earl Tolloller, Queen of the Fairies was (Hilda Hoyle), and Phyllis and Strephon was (Dorothy Wilkinson and Stanley Rawlinson. 
And below is another fine photo from the Salem days showing "Old Susan's Fairies" a Sunday School production from c1932.
"Old Susan's Fairies from February c1932
Salem U.M.F.C.


This is a walking day procession for Salem Methodist whilst going past Cordingleys 



I have attached a photo which shows my relatives who performed in a Salem production.  On the left is my Aunt Edna Owen (nee Bastow) who is mentioned in the blog as a Sunday School teacher.  Uncle Ross Taylor and my mother Vera Schofield (nee Hornung).  Both girls were born in 1921, so the photo is possibly late 1920s.  As a matter of interest Ross's dad Joe ran the snooker hall above the Co-op just lower down from the Library.

(Thanks to Paul Schofield for kindly sharing this photo which was uploaded here on 29th July 2016 

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Salem contingent walking past Sandpits with Jeff Stevens cushion bearer at front
Photo: Kindly shared by Jeff Stevens and uploaded on 4th August 2016

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I am indebted to my friend Mr. David Emison  (ex pat now living in Yorkshire who has spent most of his life working for the Methodist ministry for sending in the following information)  


Both sides of my family were connected with Salem Chapel. The centenary of the chapel was celebrated in 1961 and in 1962 the members took the decision to close and along with King Street Methodist and Manchester Road Methodist form a new church in the Manchester Road buildings.   A centenary booklet was produced and I will try to summarise its story for the blog.  The chapel was as you remember it with a circular gallery, large central pulpit and organ pipes spreading across the rear wall.   There was a "lecture hall" beneath the chapel which is where you and I remember our days in "The Primary".   Alice Nuttall, Edna Bastow, Dorothy Bevan, Eileen Green and Betsy Willan were our teachers.   Perhaps you remember how an area was screened off for us and we used to march in each week to the same music played by Betsy on the piano.   Behind the chapel was the "Upper School Room" which had been the original chapel built in 1861.
Salem Methodist Chapel – Haslingden

(The following is taken from the booklet published in 1961 to celebrate the centenary of the church)

Methodism came to Haslingden as a result of the visits of John Wesley in 1747 and 1748.  In 1747 Wesley records in his journal “We left the mountains and came down into the fruitful valley of Rossendale.  Here I preached to a large congregation of wild men, but it pleased God to hold them in chains so that even when I had done none of them offered any rudeness but all went quietly away.”  In the following year Wesley recalls meeting  “...a mob savage as wild beasts who, undeterred by the authorities, proceded to every extremity of persecution short of murder”.

King Street Methodist Chapel
Despite this rather unpromising beginning  the message of the Methodist preachers found a ready hearing amongst the growing populations of industrial towns such as Haslingden.   Regular Methodist Class Meetings were held in the cottage of Mr Daniel Gregory of Gregory Fold in 1780 and in 1787 steps were taken to build a Methodist Chapel on Bury road (on the site later occupied by the Grammar School).  The land was given by Mr John Holden of Caldwells who was impressed by the work that was being done and himself became a Methodist in 1791.  John Holden died in 1794. In his will he bequeathed the land to the Methodist Society but this was successfully contested by his brother and the Methodists were forced to leave their building.   A new chapel was built in King Street and opened in 1798.

The early years of the Methodist movement were years of rapid growth accompanied by disagreement and schism.  The Methodist Societies had a deep commitment to education, self-improvement and social justice.   Within the societies people found a new self-confidence and skills in leadership which they exercised in their communities and work places as well as in their chapels.  Many of the early disagreements were about how the societies should be organised and how responsibilities should be exercised within them.  In particular what the respective role of ordained and lay leaders should be.   The parent body was the Wesleyan Methodist Church but other Methodist movements included the Primitive Methodists, The Methodist New Connexion and the United Methodist Free Church.

Manchester Road Methodist Chapel which in 1962
became the home for members of King Street, Salem and
Manchester Road
Around 1860 a small group of mainly working people separated from the Primitive Methodist Society then meeting in a chapel in Higher Deardengate and formed a Methodist society aligned to the United Methodist Free Church.   A cottage was taken in George Street for week-night meetings and the decision was taken to erect a building that would serve both as chapel and Sunday school.  A site was purchased in Regent Street and the foundation stone was laid on the 31st August 1861 by Mrs John Whittaker of Waterfoot House, Grane Road.
!861 proved to be a momentous year for the people of Lancashire because it marked the beginning of the American Civil War and the boycott of cotton from the Confederate States. The hardship caused by the boycott became known as the “Cotton Famine” and led to great distress particularly amongst people such as those who had embarked upon the building of Salem Chapel.  It is recorded that to save time and costs young women of the new society after work in the evenings carried stones to the site in their “brats” (aprons).  The cost of the building was £800.00.

The chapel , later to become the Sunday school building, was opened on the 28th November 1861. 
The work prospered and the membership of the church grew rapidly.  In 1881 a new chapel was built with an imposing classical frontage on Regent Street and linked at the rear to the original building. The cost of the new building was £4,200.00 and it opened for worship in 1882. The street to the side of the chapel was named “Salem Street”
In 1922 a new pipe organ was installed as a memorial to the eight men of the chapel who had been killed during the 1914-18 war.  The organ covered the north wall of the chapel.

The original site of the Salem Methodist Church,
now the site of St. James C of E School.
Over the years Salem Chapel was a centre not just of Christian worship and teaching but all aspects of human well-being.  It had an active Sunday School throughout its history (300 children and young people in 1921) For many years it sponsored self-help and self-improvement societies, choirs,  an orchestra, a dramatic society (The Salem Players), sports clubs, youth clubs, cricket and Badminton teams.   Such levels of activity were not, of course, exclusive to Salem but typical of all the churches and chapels in Haslingden.  
In 1932 all the main branches of Methodism  reunited to form The Methodist Church.  Following the celebration of its centenary in 1961 the members of Salem took the momentous decision to amalgamate with King Street and Manchester Road Methodist Churches to form a new church on the Manchester Road site.  The amalgamation took place in 1962. 

The site of Salem chapel was purchased for the building of a new St James’ Primary School and the buildings were demolished shortly afterwards.


Manchester Road Methodist Church, Haslingden 

(A summary of the history of the church taken from a centenary booklet produced in 1957)

The notes on early Methodism above tell of the origins of King Street Wesleyan Chapel which was opened for worship in 1798.  By the middle years of the 19th century the chapel was too small to accommodate the growing congregation and a new and larger chapel was built in Manchester Road.  The building in King Street  was closed but eleven years later the new chapel was again proving to be too small and King Street chapel was re-opened!
The foundation stone of Manchester Road Methodist Church was laid in June 1855 by Mr James Stott of Sykeside House and the chapel was opened in February 1857.  The cost of the building including the land and organ was £4,910 13s 9d.   The large manse next to the chapel was completed in 1873 by Mr James Stott.   In 1885 a chancel was added to the chapel and the Chapel Keeper’s house and Lecture room were added in 1886. 
Manchester Rd Day and Sunday School
Foundation stone laid May 1862 (photo kindly supplied
by Jackie Ramsbottom)
A Wesleyan Day School was founded in 1824 and counted amongst its pupils Michael Davitt, the Irish patriot.  On February 1st 1861 Mr James Stott was authorised to secure a site adjacent to the chapel  for the erection of a new Day and Sunday School.  The foundation stone of the school was laid in May 1862 by Mr Thomas Smith of Flaxmoss and the school was opened in December 1863.  The cost of erection was £4,964 4s 4d.  The school continued to serve the children of Haslingden until the opening of the Central Council School on Ryefield Avenue.
In 1962, following conversations with the members of King Street and Salem Methodist Churches it was agreed to form an amalgamated Methodist Church using the buildings in Manchester Road.
You may also wish to check out the "Disappearing Churches" blog by clicking here







Also of interest is the History of the King Street Methodist and here thanks to Jackie Ramsbottom I am able to publish scans of this historic document (history section only)

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