Hetton le Hole PM Chapel, Co. Durham

County Durham

Interior, Hetton le Hole PM Chapel
Newcastle upon Tyne District Archives
Hetton le Hole PM Chapel
Newcastle upon Tyne District Archives
Interior, Hetton le Hole PM Chapel
Newcastle upon Tyne District Archives
Return from Hetton le Hole Primitive Methodist chapel in the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship
Provided by David Tonks

This chapel, opened on Saturday 22nd May, 1858, and known as the “Big Chapel”, is still open for worship in the town of Hetton le Hole.

Originally built without a gallery or organ loft, the chapel had a plaster ceiling resulting in poor acoustics with preachers being unable to be heard. This was remedied in 1865 when the gallery was added which also increased seating to over 1,000.

The organ was added in 1878 at a cost of £335. Built by P Conacher & Co. of Huddersfield, it was considered “one of the best of its day”. Overhauling, cleaning and regular tuning has continued so that it remains an enhancement to the chapel.

Comments about this page

  • I have a memory of being taken as a child to the Good Friday concerts at Union Street. Performances such as Handels Messiah and Handels Oratorio. This would have been late 40’s and 50’s.
    The names I remember were Joan Sutherland , Gwen Catley and Kathleen Ferrier.

    By Margaret Willis (24/05/2022)
  • Tyne and Wear Archives :
    ref He/4, Hetton le Hole Methodist, built as a Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1858, documents 1875-1932, 1933-1971, to include also ref. MC.Su5 for pre-1863 baptisms, ref. MC.He-l/1-6, & He/9-1-3 for baptisms post-1863.

    By Raymond E. O. Ælla (09/03/2022)
  • I’ve added a transcript of the return from the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship. You can see why they needed to build a big chapel!

    By Christopher Hill (19/02/2020)
  • Further detail is given by John Lightfoot in the Primitive Methodist magazine of September 1858 (pages 556-558). The first society was established in 1823 by Brothers Cook and Daker and a chapel was opened on 24 October 1824. Hundreds were converted in 1827. Nicholas Wood of Hetton Hall laid the foundation stone for a new chapel on July 17th 1857.

    The new chapel, designed by Martin Greener of Sunderland,  was “Anglo Italian” in character, measured 55′ x 49′, and held 750. There was a school holding 600 underneath which had “the apparatus for tea meetings”

    Opening services were held from May 22nd 1858 and included tea for 1,100 people. Preachers included Alderman Bramwell, Rev Petty (Hull), JA Bastow and J Wilson (Durham, J Lightfoot and E Hall (Sunderland) and Messrs Fawcett, Cook and Greener. Later services and another tea meeting, this time for 600, were addressed by Rev C McKechnie (Wolsingham), Messrs Gibson, Hopper Earl, George Cockburn, with J Halcro in the chair for one meeting.

    Contributions in kind came from N Wood Esq and the Hetton Coal Company  (worth £550) and G Elliott of Houghton Hall (worth £50); best ground plate glass was supplied at reduced prices by James Hartley and Co.. Total cost was £1,600 of which £1,200 had been met.

    By Christopher Hill (20/01/2018)

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