New Seaham Jubilee Primitive Methodist Chapel

Eastlea Road, Seaham SR7 8EG

New Seaham Jubilee Primitive Methodist chapel around 1937
Provided by Richard Jennings
New Seaham Primitive Methodist Chapel

The opening of  the “substantial and commodious”  Primitive Methodist Chapel in the colliery village of New Seaham is reported in the Primitive Methodist Magazine of April 1888. The chapel was in the Sunderland Second circuit.

The 1914 Ordnance Survey map shows three Methodist chapels very close to each other on what is now Enfield Road.  As well as the Prim chapel, which stood next to the Miners’ Hall, there was a Wesleyan chapel and, on the opposite side of the road, an Independent Methodist chapel.

The independent chapel is the only one to survive. All three chapels are on the 1956 map but the Wesleyan has disappeared by 1971. The Prim chapel is now labelled Jubilee – the name still carried on the front of the building.  Its current use is unclear.

District Archivist Richard Jennings provides much more detail:

“The Bible Christians were the first to open a chapel in the village. They began meeting in the “dead house” or mortuary but the Society grew and eventually they obtained premises at  William Street which they converted and used as a chapel. It appears that the Primitive Methodists took this over in October 1857 and began raising funds to open a new chapel on Stockton Road which opened on 23 January 1864 at a cost of £411.

The lease of the land was not renewed and so the Prims began work on a new chapel. An approach was made to Lord Londonderry’s Agent who offered £50 and a piece of land on which to build the new chapel. The Circuit Steward refused the offer and asked the agent to contact Lord Londonderry on the matter with the result that £150 was offered instead. The foundation stones were laid on 21 September 1887 and the chapel opened on 18 February 1888.

In February 1890, following the anniversary tea, the boiler was taken outside to cool off and the fire inside to burn itself out. Unfortunately, sparks from the embers reached the chapel roof and set the building on fire. The villagers formed a human chain with buckets of water and extinguished the flames before much damage was done.

A pipe organ was installed in 1903 and in 1928 a lecture hall, vestry and modern kitchen were added and the electric light installed shortly afterwards.  Around 1937, the chapel was renamed New Seaham Jubilee chapel (the ex WM chapel was known as New Seaham Cornish Street).”

Reference

Primitive Methodist magazine 1888 April page 251

Comments about this page

  • The Jubilee chapel building is now used as a ceramics studio – the Karen Fawcett Studios. The address is now on the corner of Enfield Road and Eastlea Road

    By Richard Jennings (01/09/2020)
  • The Sunderland Daily Echo (amongst others) reported the opening of this chapel in February 1888 as follows:
    “The Society at this place has outgrown the chapel built about 23 years ago, in place of which a neat, and spacious building in the Old English style with schools, classrooms etc. has been erected as was briefly announced in our Saturday’s pink edition, from plans prepared by Mr Joseph Shields of Sunderland. The walls are of brick, with freestone dressings. The interior of the walls and ceiling are plastered. The fittings are of pitch pine in natural colours, draughts are prevented by double doors with semi-transparent glass panels. The building is warmed by Tinswell’s hot air apparatus and lighted by Halliday’s Clapton Lights. By removing a neat screen the schoolroom which is across the end of the chapel, is available for the accommodation of 250 or 300 more persons on special occasions. The opening sermons were preached on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning and evening by the Rev Danzy Sheen, (superintendent minister of the circuit) and on Sunday afternoon, by Mr G Young. The opening tea was prepared by the young people of the choir, to which 500 persons sat down. On Sunday evening, about 600 persons were crowded into the building”.

    The newspaper goes on to report that the Marquis of Londonderry had given the site for the chapel (along with £150) on the south side of the village. The cost of building amounted to £800 most of which had been raised by the time of opening.

    By Richard Jennings (01/09/2020)

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