Bury Walmersley Road Primitive Methodist chapel

109/111/113 Walmersley Road, Bury, BL9 5AY

Bury Walmersley Road Primitive Methodist chapel

Walmersley Road is the main road north out of north east Bury.  This chapel lay about ¾ mile from the centre of the town at the junction with Canning Street.

1860:  From the Bury Times of 29 December:

PRIMITIVE METHODIST NEW CHAPEL. WALMERSLEY ROAD, BURY. – On NEW YEAR’S DAY, a TEA PARTY and ENTERTAINMENT will be held in WILLIAM-STREET CHAPEL, BURY, in aid of the intended New Erection, Walmersley Road (the site for which is secured).  Tea on the table at 4 p.m.  Tickets 1s. each.  Trays gratuitously provided.  Donations for the above object will be thankfully received by the Rev. J. Peet, 9, Garden-street, Bury …’

1865:  According to the Bury Times of 15 April:

‘LAYING THE CORNER STONE OF A PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL AND SUNDAY SCHOOL.– Yesterday, pursuant to announcement, the laying of the corner stone of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Walmersley Road, Bury, took place.  The weather was exceedingly inauspicious, a drenching shower descending the whole of the time, but notwithstanding this a great number remained throughout the service.  …’

1866:  According to the Bury Times of 17 February:


During the past week, a section of a church noted for its simplicity, its earnestness, frugality, and attention to its own business, has emerged from the obscurity of William-street, to occupy the handsome chapel just created in Walmsley-road by the Primitive Methodist congregation.

The chapel stands to the left of the Walmersley-road and is a neat, plain, stone structure, in the Italian style.  The principal front is to the road, the chief feature in which are four Tuscan pilasters, supporting a good bold pediment.  In the centre is a neat open Tuscan porch, which fronts the principal entrance to the chapel.  The chapel is approached by a broad staircase to the right and left, easy of ascent, and is in the amphitheatre form, capable of holding about 400 hearers.  The chapel is lofty, with a richly panelled ceiling, and will be one of the most comfortable and pleasant chapels in the town.  The pews are all stained and varnished.  The pulpit is in the form of an open rostrum, behind which are the singers’ pews. The front and end windows have stained glass margins, and all the windows are glazed with obscure glass.  The chapel is lighted with two ornamental sunlights.  The ground floor is occupied by school-rooms and class-rooms, and contains one large school-room 37ft by 44ft, 14ft high, and five class-rooms averaging about four yards square, and one minister’s vestry.  The whole of the building is warmed by hot water, and every care has been taken as to the ventilation.  The whole of the work has been done by local workmen, under the care and superintendence of Mr. James Maxwell, architect and surveyor, Silver-street.  The entire cost of the building, including fencing, palisading, and furnishing will be under £1,800.

[Next, a section describing the history of the society has been moved to the Bury William Street PM chapel page]

We trust that with the very superior premises they now occupy they may be the means of doing increased good.  The society at present numbers 100 members, having had fluctuating success, but as a rule enjoyed much peace.  Many friends have generously subscribed to the new chapel, and the members have given to the extent of their means.  The scholars numbering 180, have contributed in pence during the last year £34.  One little girl gave the mallet with which to lay the corner stone, and a little boy, who took a deep interest in the chapel sent last Sabbath 6s, saying that he should not be able to be at the opening, died on the day of the opening, and passed away to his home in heaven.  About £700 has been raised by subscription, to which upwards of £50 was added by the collections on Thursday last.  The society is confident that if it can raise at present £1,000, it can in future meet the interest of the remaining debt of nearly £800, and be able also to reduce the debt at the rate of £40 per annum.

Barrett’s Directory of Bury, Heywood, etc 1883 p.16 Bury, states that ‘The Primitive Methodists had a place of worship in William street in 1828, but this was abandoned in 1866, when the new chapel was erected in Walmsley road.’

The chapel can be seen on the 1890 OS Town Plan labelled ‘Methodist Chapel (Primitive) Seats for 400’.  It scales at about 56 feet x 48 feet.

A photograph of the chapel can be seen on the Genuki website.

The Bury Archives hold records of the Walmersley Road chapel including drawings of the front elevation, section and floor plan (ABU/15/1/2/720).

1867:  The chapel is listed in the 1867 List of Places for Public Religious Worship, Lancashire No. 23 along with the William Street chapel.

1871:  Worrall’s Trade Directory for Bury, Bolton and district lists this chapel as the only Primitive Methodist one – the minister was Rev. J. Graham.

1883:  Barrett’s Directory of Bury, Heywood, etc 1883 p.16 Bury, continues: ‘The body [Primitive Methodists] also have school-chapels at Gigg [ about ¾ mile SE of Bury town centre] and Elton; Rev. Charles Dudley, minister.’  On p.50 his address is given as 13 Canning street.

The Genuki website includes this:

‘When the New Jerusalem Church left its premises slightly closer to the town centre, the Primitive Methodists acquired them for use as a Sunday School.’

The NJ Church can be seen on the 1890 map, at the junction with Vernon Street; it scales at about 57 feet x 30 feet with an adjoining Sunday School of 57 feet x 37 feet.

1939:  The 25” OS map shows the 1866 chapel still in use and the whole of what was the New Jerusalem church and Sunday School is labelled as Sunday School.

1940:  The chapel was listed in the 1940 Methodist Church Buildings Report Districts ‘B’, Circuit 228 Bury and Ramsbottom. The following information was provided:

Walmersley Street: made of stone; seating 200; chairs; no halls and nine other rooms.

According to Genuki: ‘Later the original chapel was sold and the NJ building was used for services. The original Methodist chapel was used as a ‘hat factory’ for many years.’

1956-64:  The National Grid OS map shows what had been the New Jerusalem Church and Sunday School (NJCSS) at Vernon Street labelled ‘Ch’.  The 1866 chapel building is also shown but unlabelled.  The 1958-9 1” OS map shows the NJCSS marked with a plus sign.

1974:  The Bury Archives hold records of this chapel including marriage registers for 1868-1974 and baptism registers for 1900-1974 (CWP).  Is this when the New Jerusalem chapel closed?

The site is now occupied by 109/111/113 Walmersley Road, Bury, BL9 5AY.


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