Carlisle Cecil Street Primitive Methodist Chapel, Cumbria

Carlisle Cecil Street Primitive Methodist chapel from Handbook of the Carlisle & Whitehaven District's 36th Annual Synod
by kind permission of Janet Field.
Carlisle Cecil Street Primitive Methodist Chapel
from the Hodgson Field Collection at Englesea Brook Museum
Interior view of Cecil Street Primitive Methodist Chapel
from the Hodgson Field Collection at Englesea Brook Museum
BT Building on the site of the chapel
G.W. Oxley
Ground plan of Carlisle, Cecil Street PM Chapel from OS 1 to 500 CumberlandXXIII 8 1 circa 1860
Carlisle ; Return from the Primitive Methodist chapel in the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship
transcribed by David Tonks

The first Primitive Methodists in Carlisle met in a hat warehouse. After about five years they acquired a chapel in Willow Holme. This served for about twenty years but was sold in 1850 for less than the outstanding debt on the property (1).

To replace it they leased a piece of land with a 47’ frontage to the newly laid out Cecil Street and extending back for 71’ along the south side of Russell Street (later Mary Street) from the City Corporation (2). The lease was completed in June 1852 but plans for a new chapel had been deposited with the authorities the previous September. It was to be a two storey building. The semi basement consisted of a large room lighted by two windows onto the area on the Cecil Street frontage. This room and another smaller room to the rear were accessed from the area on the Russell Street side. There was another smaller room in the other rear corner which was probably a vestry. It appears to have been accessible only from the chapel above and it was the only room to have a fireplace.

The section through the chapel shows that there was a gallery supported on slender columns and another slender column supported a small pulpit reached by a staircase. Behind and to each side of the pulpit were a pair of large round topped windows. Behind the building was yard with toilets in one corner away from the main building (3). In 1883 the areas were extended and a urinal and WC provided on the Russell Street side. Further extensions covering 700 square feet were added in 1938 but the plans are absent from the file and no detail is available (5).

The chapel was closed in 1965 and subsequently demolished. A telephone exchange now occupies the site (6).


1 Patterson, WM, Northern Primitive Methodism, London 1909, p. 130

2 Cumbria Archive Service, Carlisle (CASC) DFCM1/1//68

3 CASC CA/E/4/40

4 CASC CA/4/1626

5 CASC CA/4/17666

6 CASC DFCM.14/13



Comments about this page

  • I’ve added the return from the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship. Interestingly, it was taken at the point when the previous Willow Holme chapel had been sold and they had not yet built the replacement in Cecil Street. They were meeting in the Academy of Arts

    By Christopher Hill (29/08/2020)
  • The Primitive Methodist magazine for September 1852 pp.555-557 contains an account by Samuel Nettleton of the opening of the chapel on Friday May 21st 1852.  

    He includes a full account of why the society left the previous building, including the fact that preachers were said to have been unable to find it.  There is a fully detailed description of the building designed gratuitously by architect Mr Raper, down to where the toilets were.

    The foundation stone was laid on October 6th 1851 with sermons by the Rev Dawson of Whitehaven. Speakers involved in the opening services and tea meetings included W Sanderson (Gainsborough), W Lister, Messrs Barras, Simpson, Bradley, Hind, Rowe and Handley.

    There is also detail of the finance; he says somewhat ruefully that both expenditure and income exceeded expectations. It cost around £620 and £400 was still owing – which although a lot, was less than the debt on the old one

    By Christopher Hill (08/02/2017)
  • This page was modified on 15 March 2016 to add a photograph of the BT Building on the site of the chapel.

    By Geoff Dickinson (15/03/2016)
  • I was very pleased to see that some engravings had been found to illustrate my text on Cecil St. Unfortunately I have to point out that the former BT building shown  is on the other side of the road from where the chapel stood. I have a picture of the BT brutalist building which is now on the site if it would be useful 

    By GW Oxley (09/03/2016)
  • We visited Carlisle in 2015 and have added these pictures.

    By Elaine and Richard Pearce (10/02/2016)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *