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Wesleyan Chapels

Hewley Street Chapel

  Before the large Wesleyan Chapel was built on Eston High Street, on the corner of Church Lane, the congregation worshipped in a chapel built somewhere on Hewley Street.
  This older chapel was probably erected around 1854 when Lady Hewley’s Trust leased them the land but refused to give money for building.
   The only information I can find on this chapel is a note on the 1871 census record:

"...three cottages under the Odd Fellows Hall & attached is a Wesleyan Chapel which can accommodate 200."

  The minister of the Hewley Street chapel was John E Doubleday who lived at 11 High Street, Normanby.   John Wilson Windeler from Hewley Street & Joel Whitburn from 25 Lambton Street were also named as Wesleyan preachers.

New Chapel Planned

  The Chapel in Hewley Street soon became too small for the congregation - the population of the area was growing rapidly - so a new chapel became necessary.
  A board of Trustees was set up: John Windeler & Thomas Strutt were among the local men elected.   There followed many years of fund raising - such as by holding Bazaars and   Public Tea Parties   (held in Odd Fellows Hall).
  By 1869 the building plot was purchased at a cost of £200 from Major Stapylton, and an architect - Mr E Taylor of York - was appointed.   It was planned to build a large chapel plus a schoolroom underneath.

Wesleyan Chapel

Fund Raising

  In 1871 it was proposed to approach local industrialists for donations.   A record exists of industrialists & private indiviuals who donated money over a period to the building of a new chapel:
    Major Stapylton . . . . £100
    Bolckow & Vaughan . £150
    Captain Strutt . . . . . £85 - One of the Trustees
    Major J Vaughan . . . £85
    H M F Bolckow . . .. . £150
    Bell Brothers . . . . . . £20
    Sir C H Lowther . . . . £5
    J Stanger . . . . . .. . . £9 - owner of original store now Tesco

New Wesleyan Chapel

  In 1872 Mr W Vaughan had been approached to lay a stone.
  By February 1873 the trustees must have decided that they had raised sufficient money to build, as the plans for the new chapel were put out to tender (See Chapel Tender Advert ).
   It was decided to give the contract to Eston builder George Paley, as his was the cheapest tender.
  On Monday the 19th October 1874 the new Wesleyan Chapel was dedicated with a special opening ceremony.   The new chapel had 74 pews to rent (for 266 persons) whilst the large gallery could accommodate 226 people.   Underneath there was a schoolroom for 300 children (See full description ).
  A Building Account shows the total cost of the Wesleyan Chapel was £3,301.19s.7d.   Sometime in 1875 the Trustees took out a loan from Star Life, which was paid off by 1896.   In April 1875 the old chapel in Hewley Street was sold to a Mr Scarth for £120.00.
  In 1877 Mr Osborne & Mr McDougall presented a "timepiece"" to the chapel.   In the same year a baptismal font made from Derbyshire Spar was presented to the chapel from the niece and nephew of Mr J E Brentnall.

Builder Problems

  The decision to award George Paley the contract to build proved to be a bad choice - George seems to have been a 19th 'Cowboy Builder'.   The chapel had to be closed for a time in 1877 to remedy shoddy work.
   A letter from that time reads:

"We learn that plaster work in this handsome place of worship is now being pulled off, in consequence of bad material used in the first instance.   The work of replastering the chapel has been entrusted to a master plasterer of Redcar.   It is a shame that the work should not have been executed with proper materials".

Wesleyan Chapel 1920s

Wesleyan Chapel Services Poster

Chapel Care, Finances & Use

  A Mr Newton had been appointed "Chapel Keeper" for which he received a wage; but he also received extra money for jobs outside his remit.   In December 1878 he was paid 4 shillings (20p) to clear snow from outside the chapel (that year winter was especially harsh) and in 1884 he was paid £1 to apply tar to the railings.   His wife washed the tablecloths, etc - for which she too received payment.
  The finances of the Wesleyan Chapel seem to have been precarious for most of its existence - reading their account books more cash was spent than was received.   The Trustees had frequently to borrow small sums from various members of the congregation.   As late as 1936 the bank was querying their overdraft.
  There were many fundraising activities - bazaars, lectures etc.   One of the more unusual schemes in 1895/6 involved taking pictures of the Harvest Festival Decorations and selling them, raising 15 shillings (75p).
  In 1933 the Wesleyan Chapel officially became a Methodist Chapel, though it was always known locally as the Wesleyan Chapel.
  During WW2 the schoolroom in the basement of the chapel was used by the Home Guard for drilling practise.

Dry Rot, Closure & Demolition

  In 1958 Dry Rot was discovered in the roof of the chapel.   As it was in an advanced state the building was deemed to be unsafe.   Over the years the congregation had shrunk so it was not considered feasible to spend large sums of money on repairs.   It soon became obvious that the chapel would have to be demolished.
   In 1958 a builder - Shannon? - offered only £200 for the site.   He declared in a letter to the trustees that he would only get one house on the site!
  On the 29th January 1959 there was a meeting of the trustees when they discussed an offer made by a builder "who had acquired land behind the High Street".   The property & land was eventually purchased by the company for £450, with the builder agreeing to demolish the chapel.   The final payment was given to the trustees by Mr Johnson on 14th November 1959.
  When the chapel was demolished the masonry was buried beneath the properties built on the site - hence an elevation of the bungalows built there.

  After the chapel closed the local council gave them permission to hold services in the Saint Helen's cemetery chapel.   The organ was transferred to Jubilee Road Methodist Church.   Also mentioned is a clock plus the furnishings from the Children’s Corner being stored "in a place of safety".

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[Thanks to Teesside Archives for their help]
© 2013   Joan Outhwaite.    Normanby History Group

Wesleyan Chapel Wedding

Wesleyan Chapel 1930s?

Site of former Wesleyan Chapel