Pau Watson thought that the Masonic Hall at the southern end of Manor Road, Washington, looked like a former chapel . What’s the evidence?
- The 1867 Registration of chapels in County Durham includes an entry for Washington New Rows in the Chester le Street circuit. New Rows ran west from Manor Road to Heworth Road (then known as New Road).
- On the 1895 Ordnance Survey map there is a Primitive Methodist chapel marked just north of the junction with Front Street – but its a big label on the eastern side of Manor Road (where there was open space to write it) and is not clear which building it relates to. The footprint of the Masonic Hall building is on the map.
- On the 1913/14 Ordnance Survey map , the Masonic Hall is simply labelled “Hall” and the words “Methodist chapel (Primitive )” have disappeared. On the eastern side of Manor Road, opposite the Masonic Hall, one building is labelled SA Fort – a Salvation Army Citadel. Was this the former chapel? The label on the earlier OS map could have easily applied to this building.
- By the 1939 OS map the Masonic Hall is still labelled Hall and the Salvation Army now has a larger building, labelled SA Hall.
- Street View in 2021 shows the Masonic Hall in use by the New World Nursery which expanded from its adjacent premises between 2012 and 2015. The former Salvation Army hall is used by an amateur boxing club; Street View history shows that up until 2018 it was a Christian Fellowship meeting hall.
What looks like a conclusive piece of evidence comes from the Tyne and Wear Archive – record number HER(15412: Washington, Concord, Manor Road, PM Chapel (Masonic Hall), accessible here. Although its hard to relate the picture to the current building, it says
“Late 19th century Primitive Methodist Chapel later Masonic Hall. Rectangular, hipped roof, pebbledashed, traces of arched windows on east. In an area now largely devoid of any buildings pre-dating the mid-20th century, and disguised by its current coat of pebbledash, this former Masonic Hall appears to be a late-19th century Primitive Methodist Chapel and is of value as regards its social history. Needs further examination, but its shell may survive largely intact. Suggested as a contender for Listed Building Status by Peter Ryder.”
This is what we know so far – can you confirm? It would be good to know!