Cambridge Panton Street Primitive Methodist chapel
58 Panton Street Cambridge CB2 1HS
Panton Street Primitive Methodist chapel was opened on May 14th 1866. It was located in a newly built part of the City as the existing chapels in St Peter’s Street and Fitzroy Street were full to overflowing. The new chapel was a freehold property measuring 33′ x 50′ and costing £970.
The foundation stone had been laid on December 20th 1865 by Richard Young MP and “guinea bricks” laid by R Brazier’s 5 children, FB Paston, Mr Fromant, Mrs Meadows and Miss Dewberry. Speakers at the stone laying and opening services and celebrations included R Young, R Robinson, JC Wells (Cottenham – Baptist), Danzy Sheen, R Key, J Phillips, James Nutter, Revs Phillips, Burgun, Neale, W Antliff, W Lister, JC Wells, JP Campbell, WH Johnson
These details are taken from an account by William H Meadows in the Primitive Methodist magazine. He makes particular mention of the contribution of the kindness of other denominations in the initiative and the support they gave. The account also gives an extensive list of donors.
Two years later, John Barton tells us the chapel is “quietly increasing every quarter”, except that the Sunday school was very small.
In the Christian Messenger of 1912, the story is updated. “Primitive Methodism to-day is represented in the university town by three churches. Till recently there was a fourth in Panton Street. The latter, though, in a back street, and over-shadowed by prominent neighbours, did not appeal to the eye of modern Cambridge. Its latter history was one of steady decline, and after various attempts to revive the cause, the building came to be sold. The proceeds, £625 net, went to form the nucleus of the Forward Movement. So that out of defeat it is hoped that good will yet come.”
On Ordnance Survey maps of 1886 and 1901 a chapel is marked on the western side of Panton Street, just north of its junction with Norwich Street. Its brand is unidentified and by 1927 it is simply labelled “church”. On Google Street View in October 2018 it is a Christian Science church. The Christian Science church website explains that the building was purchased from the Prims in 1911. Interestingly, the website explains, “We have always been pleased that the date on the original church building in Panton Street is 1866, quite a special date for anyone interested in the teachings of Christian Science. This was the year a New England woman, Mary Baker Eddy, experienced a spiritual breakthrough”
Primitive Methodist magazine November 1866 page 689-690
Primitive Methodist magazine 1868 page 230
Christian Messenger 1912/362
website of the First Church of Christ, Scientist accessed April 3rd 2019 at: http://www.christianscience-cambridge.org.uk/about/historical-outline