In the Primitive Methodist magazine of 1865 we are told in glorious detail by EH of the opening of the Primitive Methodist chapel in Middleton, Hartlepool.
Where was this chapel and what happened to it?
“Chapel Opening, Middleton, Hartlepool Circuit.—Middleton is a small township, midway between Hartlepool and West Hartlepool, on a narrow neck of land, with the Hartlepool Bay on the east and an immense receptacle for the tides running through the Hartlepool harbour, called the Slakes, on the west. There was only the church as established by law in this neighbourhood.
Formerly, and for many years, a Wesleyan chapel stood in the place ; but I understand in the Wesleyan disruption of 1849 the acting members drew off to a Reform society in West Hartlepool. So the society in Middleton was broken up ; and some time after, the making of our splendid West Hartlepool docks required the removal of the chapel, which was taken down to make room for them.
About two years ago we thought we should try to work the place, as there was ample room for church and us. Accordingly Messrs. E. Brock, Jos. Armstrong, and the writer missioned the neighbourhood, and soon succeeded in establishing a cause, of which we made Mr. Armstrong the leader. Soon the cottage in which we worshipped became overcrowded, and the question was mooted amongst the people, ” Why can’t we have a chapel ?”
Ultimately the thing took hold and took shape, and we set about a chapel ; George Blumer, Esq., of Hartlepool, laid the foundation-stone in October last, and now I write to inform you of the opening. Our building is only small, but it is large enough for the place, and as large as our means. The size is 38 feet by 21 ; and we have a vestry and yard behind.
The chapel is about three feet back from the road, and we have neat and strong iron palisades. Instead of a pulpit we have what is pronounced on all hands to be a beautiful platform, the front of which is ornamentally stamped through, and lined with scarlet cloth. The pewing is, after the design of my late colleague, Mr. Johnson, semi circular, the radius so increasing that the last pew is nearly on a straight line. We thus save space, often lost in squares and angles.
There are three windows at the back, the centre one is ten feet, the others shorter. Two sash windows and this large one give us light in the front ; our glass is obscured. The chapel is lighted at night with a tastefully made and finished star-light, descending from the centre of the coiling ; above the burners is a glass globe, silvered, which makes a powerful reflector. Our friend Mr. Audas got us this light.
We seat about 150 persons : about 80 in pews and the rest in free seats. The cost is about £236.
This chaste little sanctuary was opened on February 12th and 19th. On the former day Mr. Johnson took the first service, and in an effective sermon challenged us all to consecrate ourselves that day to our God. In. the afternoon and evening the Rev. J. Jobling, of Silsden, dwelt with fervour and power, with touches of humour, and racy and telling anecdote, upon themes that belong to salvation. The Primitives of twenty years ago were delighted to see an old friend in Mr. Jobling, for he has travelled twice in this place, and the young ones were glad to make his acquaintance.
On the 13th we held our tea-meeting, the provisions for which were all given by the friends, whose names I would record, but space forbids. About 300 persons sat down to the good things of this life so amply provided. The public meeting immediately followed, when Mr. E. Lowden, a Methodist Free Churchman, presided. In a truly Catholic spirit, and with much ability, did he pilot the meeting. The speeches were all that such speeches should be,— earnest, pointed, intelligent, anecdotal, and often rising into true eloquence. The speakers were Revs. J. Jobling, E. Hall, J. Hulme, and Messrs. Johnson and Jos. Armstrong. On Tuesday evening, February 14th, the writer delivered a lecture on “The Deaf Workhouse Boy, who became a Doctor in Divinity ;” the chair was taken by Rev. J. Jobling.
On Lord’s-day, Feb. 19th, opening sermons were again preached ; in the morning by our respected friend, the Rev. T. Knox, and afternoon and evening by his good wife, Mrs. Knox. Her message to the people was in the power of the living uod ; some wept, all felt, a few believed, and God was glorified. As may be supposed, our congregations were crowded ; in deed many had to go away unable to get in.
We have stated the cost of our building—towards this we got in public collections about £11 10s., our tea will realise about £12 or £13, and we have collected about £60. But we mean not to stop at this point, for we propose to institute a sinking fund, by which to sink the debt altogether.
Many friends have laboured nobly, some in collecting for the handsome Bible and hymn-book, scarlet cloth, cushion, Ac. ; and a spirit of enterprise and liberality has been manifested on all hands. Names and details we would like to give, but you, Mr. Editor, will thank me to save your space. To all we express our hearty thanks, and to God we give praise and glory. E. H.”
Primitive Methodist magazine 1865 pages 439-441