Gravesend Primitive Methodist chapel

The Primitive Methodist magazine of 1864 contains an account by H Green of the opening of Gravesend Primitive Methodist chapel.  Where was this chapel and what happened to it?

Here is the substantial part of the account:

“Chapel Opening at Gravesend.— Gravesend is a very ancient town, delightfully situated on the south side of the Thames, in the county of Kent, 22 miles from London by land, and 20 by the river. The town is built upon the first spot of land that presents an acclivity from the river, 21 miles within or westward of the estuary of the Nore, where the waters of the North Sea, the Thames, and the Medway mingle. …

… In this town there was only one church and an Independent Chapel until the commencement of the present century ; but now there are five churches, two Baptist Chapels, one Wesleyan, an Independent, a Roman Catholic, and a Primitive Methodist. The population of the town at present is about 18,000. Gravesend was missioned by the Primitive Methodists in the year 1846. The Rev. W. Cooper was the first missionary, and many were the discouragements which he had to meet while in the pursuit of his work of faith and labour of love ; but a society was formed and it progressed slowly until about twelve years ago, when the Rev. -J. Ashworth was stationed here. He having obtained a more commodious place of worship, the society received a fresh impetus, and from that time went forward, and many souls have been converted.

Several have died in the faith and are gone home to heaven. But for several years a new chapel has been a desideratum. Many prayers were offered to our heavenly Father to open the way for obtaining land on which to build, and subscriptions were raised and deposited in the bank towards the undertaking. When I came here in July, 1801, there were £82 in the bank, and £12 8s. in the hands of the trustees of the old chapel.

The Lord opened the way for us to obtain a plot of freehold land in a good situation, on which we have built a chapel 48ft. by 36ft. 6in., and 22ft. 6in. from the floor to the ceiling. It is well lighted and ventilated, is fitted up with a platform. 44 comfortable pews in the modern style, a pew for the singers, and free seats, the whole affording accommodation for about 500 persons.

Under the chapel we have a school-room 36 feet square, 11 feet from the floor to the ceiling, with two classrooms, and a room with a copper and other conveniences for tea meetings. Our best thanks are due to the architect, who gave the plans and surveyed the work gratuitously.

This beautiful sanctuary was opened for divine worship November 18th, when two sermons were preached—in the afternoon by the Rev. G. Smith, of Poplar, and in the evening by the Rev. W. Antliff, of London. On the following Sabbath two sermons were preached by the Rev. M. Lupton, of London, and one by the Rev. T. Kennerley.

The opening services were continued on Sunday, 29th, when three sermons were preached by the Rev. J. Ashworth, of Peterboro,’ and the. Rev. T. Thompson, M.A. On the 30th a tea meeting was held in the school-room. After tea a very interesting public meeting took place in the chapel, presided over by J. Moore, Esq. ; and addresses were delivered by the Revs. T. Penrose, W. Cooper, B. H. Kluht, and J. Ashworth.

The Rev. H. Green read the financial report. The cost of the building, including land and every incidental expense, has been £991 7s. 7d., towards which have been raised by collections, subscriptions, a bazaar, &c, £285 16s. 7d. The opening services produced £60 5s. 6d ; total £340 2s. Id. : leaving a debt of £645 5s. 6d. We intend, if possible, to beg the £45 5s. 6d. by the end of June next. The opening services were well attended, and we trust that the excellent sermons preached on the occasion will, like bread cast upon the waters, be seen after many days. H. Green.”


Primitive Methodist magazine 1864 pages 183-184

Comments about this page

  • All the evidence suggests that this was actually Darnley Street, built 12 years before the date usually attributed to the building. Gravesend was missioned in 1846, and a number of buildings were rented before Stone Street chapel was built in 1850. Stone Street is recorded as being refurbished in 1857, as the Primitive Methodist chapel in a directory of 1858, and on the 1866 OS twenty-five inch map. The Darnley Street chapel was, however, the one registered for worship before 1867.

    By Philip Thornborow (03/09/2021)

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