Air Balloon Hill Primitive Methodist chapel
Air Balloon Road, BS5 8LB,
The Primitive Methodist magazine for August 1856 and January 1857 contains accounts by Charles Thomas Harris of the opening of Air Balloon Hill Primitive Methodist chapel in the Bristol circuit.
The area was missioned in August 1847 but land for the chapel was not obtained until August 1855, given by CJ Whitack (or Whittuck in the earlier piece), the deed being drawn up free of charge by JP Henderson. Mr Whitack laid the foundation stone on July 1st 1856 (or July 2nd in the 1897 magazine); addresses at the services and tea meeting came from Rev. William Cuttle, minister of Kingswood Tabernacle, J. Butler, Revs. Page, Butler, Bennetts, Wills, and Harris.
The chapel was built in the Gothic style by a local preacher, Mr John Lambert. It measured 35′ x 22′ and the walls were stuccoed with the roof blue slate.
It was opened on Wednesday October 22nd 1856. Opening sermons were preached by Mr Harris, Rev Thomas Page, Handel Cossham, Henry Lee, Rev Thomas Hobson, Rev S Bruton. The tea, for 145 people, was kept for the last meeting on Monday November 3rd. Sermons came from Messrs Martin, Wells Cattle, Hobson, Hand and Lambert.
The overall cost was £146 of which around half had been raised. JP Hinton drew up the deed. John Wesley Hall gave the glass.
Mr Harris obviously provided far more information than could be included for want of space – the magazine editor apologised for cutting sections out.
The chapel is marked on the Ordnance Survey map of 1888 as Clowes Primitive Methodist chapel, but the Primitive Methodist magazine for 1908 tells us that “Mr. Sage, Steward of the Bristol Fourth Circuit, was converted forty years ago in the old chapel on Air Balloon Hill, which is now a ruin.” Was the 1856 building replaced?
It might well have been, because in the November 1880 Primitive Methodist magazine there is mention of the opening in the last few months of a new chapel in Ballorn (sic) Hill and the society was getting on with building a new schoolroom and vestries.
Summerhill Methodist Church was opened in 1989, on the site of the former Clowes (Primitive) Methodist Church, and to accommodate the congregation of two other Methodist Churches in the parish of St George – Bethel Methodist (Clouds Hill Road), and Crews Hole Methodist.
Primitive Methodist magazine August 1856 p.503
Primitive Methodist magazine January 1857 pp. 48-49
Primitive Methodist Magazine November 1880 page 701
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1908 p.454