Tranmere Mount Tabor Primitive Methodist Chapel

Holt Road, Tranmere CH41 9DZ

The Primitive Methodist magazine for December 1893 contains a note recording the addition of “splendid infant school-room to the excellent education al accommodation at the chapel”

Many thanks to Christopher Wells for sharing his research into the history of the chapel associated with the new Sunday school.  Mount Tabor was the successor to chapels in Grosvenor Street and Queen StreetChris confirms that it was sited in Holt Road and  Holt Road itself still exists.  The chapel was sited at the junction of Holt Road (north side) with Leighton Road (west side), where private residences nos. 40 and 38 Leighton Road (CH41 9DZ) now stand.

Some key events in Mount Tabor’s story are shown here: download the attachment for the full story.

1879:  The 1879 Primitive Methodist magazine page 60 (see here) tells us ‘they’ were working on a new Primitive Methodist chapel at Tranmere in the Birkenhead station to replace the previous less “commodious” one [Queen Street or Grosvenor Street?)]. It was expected to cost £3,000 and would include a school room and class rooms.

Kelly’s Directory 1902, page 60, states ‘The Primitive Methodist chapel, in Holt Road, Tranmere, erected in 1879 at a cost of £3,400, is of brick with stone dressings, in the Italian style, and will seat 600 persons.’

A 1909 map is the first map I have found that shows the chapel, labelled (‘Meth. Ch. (Prim.)’).  It is a T-shaped building.  The stem is the chapel with an entrance from Leighton Road which scales at about 53ft x 40ft; across the back, scaling about 61ft x 29ft, are presumably the schoolrooms.  Behind this is another building, presumably also a school (perhaps the original 1861 school) which scales 50ft x 28ft.  There are schools next door to the west in Holt Road (Tranmere Higher Grade Presbyterian School) and to the north in Leighton Road (the Holt School of Science & Art).

There are numerous reports about events and activities at Mount Tabor chapel in the Birkenhead News between 1880 and 1940; these mostly report on Chapel, Sunday School and Schools Anniversaries, Christmas events and Harvest Festivals.  Some are included below.

1880:  The Birkenhead News 3 January 1880 reported:

‘CHRISTMAS TREAT. – Mr. and Mrs. G. Green, of Hampden-street, Tranmere, gave, on Christmas morning, a free breakfast to about 250 scholars, teachers, and friends in connection with the Primitive Methodist Church, Mount Tabor, Tranmere.  Breakfast was provided in the Queen-street chapel.  After it the party formed in procession and walked to Mount Tabor, where a suitable discourse was delivered by Rev. R. Phillips.  All received oranges, apples, books, and cards.’

1883:  The 1883 Slater Directory, Birkenhead section p. 64, lists only one Tranmere chapel, at Holt Hill (this chapel).

1883:  The Birkenhead News 5 May 1883 reported:

MOUNT TABOR PRIMITIVE METHODIST SUNDAY SCHOOL ANNIVERSARY. – The services in connection with the above were held on April 22nd and 23rd in the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Holt-road, Tranmere.  Preachers …, popular lecture on Rowland Hill … an amusing dialogue …  On Monday evening a public tea was given in the chapel, to which two hundred persons sat down.

1892:  The Birkenhead News 23 July 1892 reported:


The Nemo, however, made amends for their defeat by the St. Matthews Bible Class by making an example of the Mount Tabor on Monday.  The match was played on the ground of the Nemo [Church Street], the latter scoring 50 to the visitors 15.

1927 on:  From the National Archives entry for ‘TRANMERE MOUNT TABOR PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHURCH’: ‘The Wesleyan Methodist church in Church Road, Higher Tranmere was built in 1862 and enlarged in 1875. The Mount Tabor Primitive Methodist church in Holt Road was built about 1872. The former lay in the Birkenhead Circuit, the latter in the Bebington Circuit.  The two churches were merged in 1965/66 when a new building was erected in Church Road.’  The Cheshire Archive holds ‘register, minutes and plans for the period 1927-1964’ for Mount Tabor.  The ‘new building’ is the church that still exists at the junction of Church Road and Whitfield Street in Tranmere, now known as the ‘Church@The Cross’ following the merger of Tranmere Methodist and Charing Cross Methodist (Birkenhead).

1940:  The 1940 list of Methodist chapels has an entry for Mount Tabor in the ‘Districts L’ download, pages 178/9: ‘Mount Tabor: Structure brick; Seating 568; Type of seating pews; School Halls 2; Other rooms 4’.


Primitive Methodist magazine  December 1893 page 761


Comments about this page

  • I have found a newspaper report of the opening of this chapel:
    The Birkenhead News, Saturday 26 July 1879:
    ‘NEW PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHURCH AT TRANMERE. – A handsome new church, which has been erected by the Primitive Methodists of Tranmere on the Holt, was opened for public worship last evening, when a sermon was preached by Rev. H. S. Brown, of Liverpool. The front portion of the edifice is in the Italian style of architecture, and the building is constructed of brick, with Stourton stone dressings. There is a gallery in the usual horse-shoe shape, and accommodation is provided for about 600 persons. The cost of the church is £2000, besides £200 for the land. It is intended to erect schools at the back of the edifice, at a cost of about £1000. … Hitherto the members of the denomination in Tranmere have worshipped in a small chapel in Queen-street, but it was found necessary to erect a more spacious building to accommodate the increasing numbers in the district. As already stated, the church has been erected on the Holt (the highest part of Tranmere), but the new building has been called “Mount Tabor”. A number of services, extending over two or three weeks, will be held in connection with the opening of the edifice.’

    By Chris Wells (12/07/2022)
  • I’ve added four photographs believed to be from the 1950s of the interior of Mount Tabor Primitive Methodist chapel. They come from an album passed to Tranmere local historian Roy Dennett and forwarded to this site by Chris Wells.

    By Christopher Hill (27/06/2022)
  • I’ve rewritten this page to include Chris Wells research into the history of the chapel. It contains one of the few references to cricket in Primitive Methodist chapels – and not very successful cricket.

    By Christopher Hill (09/04/2022)

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