Account from the Primitive Methodist magazine of the opening of Hendon Primitive Methodist chapel in the Sunderland circuit.
“The Triumphs of the Gospel at Hendon, Sunderland. — For many years, Hendon, in the Borough of Sunderland, was distinguished as a place of resort for the inhabitants of Sunderland, where thousands of people spent their Sabbaths in carnal pleasure. God in his providence has brought about a great change in the neighbourhood. A few years ago the land in that part was laid out for cottage buildings, and a number of families belonging to the working classes soon resorted thither, and the Primitive Methodists, as is their wont, set up their standard, preaching Christ as the Saviour of the lost, and the friend of sinners.
Their labours were not in vain, a congregation was soon collected, a society formed, and a Sabbath school established. They first commenced their work of faith and labour of love in Thomas Dawson’s cottage in the year 1857. The cottage soon became too small, and they projected building a small chapel for their congregation and Sabbath school. This was entered upon with liberality and zeal, and a chapel was built to hold about 170 people, which proved a great success.
Eventually the chapel became too small ; and the Primitive Methodists being the only dissenting section then occupying this field of labour, they resolved upon building a chapel to hold from six to eight hundred people —this was, indeed, a great undertaking for the working poor ; but their hearts were set upon it, and they fully believed the work to be of the Lord, and it has proved the greatest success in regard to Primitive Methodist chapel building ever known in these parts. The persons engaged had no other aim than the glory of God, and the salvation of their fellow men.
This beautiful chapel is admired by all who visit it, for its elevated and airy situation, its neatness inside and out. It has 18 large circular windows a graceful circular gallery, a platform for the use of the preacher and for public services, ascended by a flight of steps on either side, a communion railing in front, and a gallery behind fitted up for the singers. In the centre of the gallery fronting the preacher, there is a beautiful clock, presented by Capt. Matfin, one of the members. All the woodwork is painted—the gallery in front is white, the panelling is mahogany, the whole having a chaste, cleanly, and lightsome appearance.
There are also two vestries for class rooms and other purposes. A flight of stone steps leads into the chapel. The cost of the whole was £1,330. Messrs. Brown and Earl and other friends, knowing the worth of Primitive Methodist labours in the borough of Sunderland, and feeling assured that influential and wealthy gentlemen in the town and neighbourhood knew how to appreciate the moral and spiritual benefit resulting from their great success in establishing the Gospel amongst the working classes, commenced their work in faith, applying with great success for subscriptions, until they had collected the noble sum of £450.
To mention the names of all who subscribed would swell this statement beyond its proper limits ; but we would mention E. T. Gourley, Esq., Mayor of Sunderland, £25 ; W. Hopper, Esq. , £20; Mr. Wm. Brown, £20; Haswell and Ryhope Colliery Co., £25 ; Mr. J. Brown, £50 ; E. Back house, Esq., £’10; Mr. J. Brown, jun., £10; South Hetton Coal Co., £10; J. Fawcett, Esq., £10; T. Gibson, Esq., £10 ; Backhouse Banking Co., £10; Wood and Co., Bankers, £10 ; Lambton and Co. , Bankers, £10 ; Capt. Martin, £6 ; Mr. George Lawson, solicitor, £6 Is. ; Peacock and Brothers, £6 ; Mr. W. B. Earl, £5 ; Joshua Wilson and Brothers, £5 ; James Lange, Esq., ‘ £5 ; Potts and Brothers, £5 ; R. Euison, Esq., £5 ; Samuel Tissack, Esq.,£5;FairlyandBrothers,£5; W. Branfoot, Esq. , £5 ; Mr. John Ray, London, £2 10s. ; Mr. Swanston, £2 10s; Mr. J. W. Weyman, £3 13s.; Mr. Bravey, £3 3s ; Mr. John Gochet, £2; S. Alcock, Esq., £2. ; Mr. Laney, £2; J. Candlish, Esq., M. P., £2 : Capt. Geo. Grey, £2 ; Hy. Fenwick, Esq., £2 ; Mr. R. Oliver, £2 ; Mr. J. Hutchinson, £2 ; Mrs. Douglas gave and collected £5 ; Mr. John Tulip collected and gave £810s. ; Mr. Weelans gave and collected £3.
The proceeds of the bazaar were £271 12s. lid. This was indeed a noble work. The ladies who were connected with the provision and bazaar stalls laboured in a most praiseworthy manner. Mrs. Kelly and daughter, and Mrs. J. Brown, although not belonging to the Hendon society laboured nobly and rendered very efficient help ; and the whole passed off in a most satisfactory manner, showing that the people had a mind to work for God and his cause. Mr. J. Nicholson’s services were felt to be valuable in attending to arrangements both for the chapel and bazaar.
The opening services took place on Sunday, August 13th, 1866. The Rev. John Petty, Governor of the Jubilee School, York, preached at half-past ten in the morning and six in the evening, and the Rev. J. Broadbent, Wesleyan minister, at two in the afternoon. On Monday evening, August 14th, a public tea meeting was held in the chapel, when about 300 sat down to tea, after which a public meeting took place, addressed by the stationed ministers and others, Wm. Hopper, Esq., in the chair, who gave a very efficient opening speech, and the whole meeting was profitable and interesting.
On Sunday, August 19th, the opening services were continued, the Rev. James Caughey, from America, preached at half-past ten in the morning and six in the evening, and the Rev. T. Oliver at two in the afternoon. The whole of the services were of a very profitable character, were well attended—a gracious influence was felt, and souls were saved. To God be all the glory. The proceeds of the collections and tea amounted to £48 7s. The provisions for the tea were given by the ladies.
The subscriptions, bazaar proceeds, and collections, together amounted to the princely sum of above £800. There is £100 in the old chapel, and, if sold, it would leave little more than £400 on the new chapel. On seeing the great changes wrought among the people, it may be truly said ” The wilderness and the solitary place have been made glad, and the desert places are made to rejoice, and to blossom as the rose.” Praise and prayer, and the glorious Gospel of the ever blessed God now sound amongst a willing, happy, and generous people, who delight in God’s house as the place where he sets up his banner, and makes the place of his feet glorious. T. Oliver.”
National Archives list a Primitive Methodist chapel in Mainsforth Terrace. Was that this chapel?
Primitive Methodist magazine 1867 pages 426-427
Transcribed by Christopher Hill 02/2020