Leigh Bradshawgate Primitive Methodist Chapel

Leigh, Lancs

The Primitive Methodist Chapel, Bradshawgate, Leigh Lancashire.

The Primitive Methodist cause commenced in 1834 with a school in Bradshawgate, a new chapel was erected in 1869. This chapel was purchased by Leigh Corporation (the council) in 1903 as part of it’s town improvement programme the congregation moved to new and larger chapel and school in Windermere Road in 1904 at a cost of £10,000. However these buildings no longer stand.

The site on Bradshawgate was cleared and The Empire Hall was built and used as a cinema, this was later rebuilt as a purpose built cinema called “The New Empire”.

This was in turn demolished and replaced by Lennon’s Supermarket, then Iceland, followed by the job centre.

One of the founders of the cause was George Okell, who was a temperance campaigner who’s family lived in High Leigh, Cheshire and hosted Wesley’s meetings, were instrumental in the founding of the “Independent Methodist Church” My maternal grandfather Alfred Okell was a relation of theirs.

Leigh Bradshawgate Primitive Methodist Chapel


Account of the establishment and development of Leigh Primitive Methodist chapel from the 1872 Christian Messenger

Comments about this page

  • The Primitive Methodist magazine of December 1850 (page 749) contains a report by John Eastwood of the reopening of Leigh Primitive Methodist chapel after being beautified, repaired, fitted up with gas and a wall being built at the end of the chapel yard. It re-opened on October 20th 1850 when the preacher was Brother Herod of Warrington.

    By Christopher Hill (19/06/2021)
  • Thanks Alan

    By Christopher Hill (08/05/2021)
  • Ho Christopher, The site in Bradshawgate Leigh is now (2021) where the Iceland store now stands

    By Alan Nixon (08/05/2021)
  • On the duplicate page for this chapel (now merged here), Richard Hindley commented on March 9th 2021:

    “Thanks for this. My sister has been doing some family history and she found a cutting from the Warrington Guardian in 1950 with a story about my great uncle’s and great auntie’s 60th wedding anniversary. It says they were married at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Bradshawgate, Leigh by the Rev. Benjamin Dain. Obviously that would have been 1890, so 3 years before the OS map you mention. I went on Google maps to see if I could work out where the chapel was on Bradshawgate, but there was no obvious sign of it. Do you have any idea?”

    This page does answer Richard’s question.

    By Christopher Hill (07/05/2021)
  • I’ve added two further pieces of information to this page:

    1. the Return from Bradshawgate Primitive Methodist chapel in Leigh to the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious Worship, completed by the minister, John Eastwood. This was formerly on a duplicate page for the chapel. The Return confirms that the opening date of 1834. The chapel accommodated 200 people, all seated, with 110 of them in free seats. On Census Sunday 110 people attended the afternoon service and 160 in the evening, well above the average of 100 for the preceding year. There were 79 scholars in the morning Sunday school and 69 in the afternoon:

    2. a transcript by David Tonks of an article from the Christian Messenger describing the early establishment and growth of Primitive Methodism in Leigh.

    By Christopher Hill (07/05/2021)
  • There is an account by S Tillotson in the Primitive Methodist magazine (1836 p.345) of the opening in November 1834 of Leigh Primitive Methodist chapel in the Bolton circuit.

    By 1835 the society had 90 members with a Sunday school of 30 teachers, 100 boys and 90 girls so room for 200 was added, with the chapel so built that “at light expense” they could make room for another 200.

    By Christopher Hill (15/05/2017)

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