Middleton Jumbo Primitive Methodist Church

Grimshaw Lane, Middleton Junction M24 2AQ

POstcard from collection of Revd Steven Wild
Jumbo Primitive Methodist Church, Middleton

Founded: 1868 Closed: 1966.

Thanks to Chris Wells for researching the story of the chapel

1865:  The booklet ‘There is Holy Ground’ – A History of Methodism in Middleton 1760-1950 (Middleton Library) gives an account of the development of the Wesleyan School in Middleton Junction from the early 1800s.  It continues:

‘Evidence of the flourishing religious life of Middleton Junction is that the Primitive Methodist stalwarts, who established an outpost, had been building their church a little earlier.

A contingent of missionaries from Middleton, including John Brown and Ashton Hilton [see 1889 later], had started meetings in Jumbo about 1865, in the house next to the British Legion premises in Grimshaw Lane.’

1867:  This society first appears on the Preaching Plan for Manchester 1st Circuit in 1867 Q4, alongside Middleton (Irk Street), Rhodes and Bowlee from the Middleton area.  There were 9 ‘Places’ in the circuit.  The only Sunday service was at 6pm and was led by a local preacher.  The two ministers took turns at leading services at 7.30pm on alternate Wednesdays.

1868:  (‘There is Holy Ground’ continues):

‘The exact date when the decision to build a church was made is not known, but it was opened in 1868, and a building fund for a Sunday school was launched….’

The chapel (labelled ‘Meth. Chap.’) can be seen on the 1889-91 25” OS map, on Grimshaw Lane at the junction with Sedgley Street; it scales at about 41ft x 29ft.

1872 to 1890:  There is Holy Ground’ continues: ‘The church was flourishing strongly when it became part of the Middleton circuit on its formation in 1872.’

The chapel appears on all of the eleven Middleton Circuit Preaching Plans held on this website between 1872 Q3 and 1889-90 Q4.

(continues) ‘On April 16, 1876, the first baptism in the church was recorded … but the first wedding did not take place until .. 1904.’

1877:  The School was first mentioned in the Middleton Guardian of 29 December:

‘MIDDLETON TONGE Primitive Methodist School Jumbo Christmas party took place in the schoolroom …’

1888:  ‘There is Holy Ground’ continues:

‘At first the church was used also as a school, but after twenty years the growing number of pupils led the trustees to lay plans for a separate school.

Foundation stones were laid in June, 1888, … and [the school] opened on November 4, 1888. By this time the church had 55 members…. [By 1897] the school register showed 30 teacher and 213 pupils …

The register now [1950] contains the names of 66 scholars, 23 teachers, 60 church members, and 22 junior members.’

The school can be seen (behind the chapel) on the 1889-91 25” OS map; it scales at about 54ft x 32ft.

1889:  The Middleton Guardian of 5 January 1889 reported that:

‘The annual scholars’ party, of the Jumbo School, was held on New Year’s Day, about 300 sitting down to tea.  Mr. Ashton Hilton (superintendent)[see 1865 above] occupied the chair, and also gave an address.  The remainder of the evening was spent in games, &c.’

1891:  From the Middleton Guardian of 16 May:

‘Primitive Methodist, Jumbo. – Founded 1868.  Minister, Rev. W. Goodman … Scholars – male 108, female 138, total 246; teachers – male 9, female 11, total, 20.  With Sunday-school Union to Scarborough on Friday; procession through the village on Saturday.’

1918:  The Middleton Guardian of 26 October reported:

‘MIDDLETON JUNCTION.  The Jubilee Celebrations in connection with Jumbo Primitive Methodist Church, Middleton Junction, commenced on Saturday afternoon with a most successful birthday party, at which about 300 friends partook of tea.’

1940:  The chapel was listed in the 1940 Methodist Church Buildings Report Districts ‘M’, Circuit 825 Middleton. The following information was provided:

Jumbo: made of brick; seating 110; pews; three halls and six other rooms.

1965-66:  Manchester Central Library holds Baptism Registers for 1876-1965 and Marriage Registers for 1928-66 (M275/Jumbo/1-2).

1966:  The Closing Service was held on 12 June (see image above).

The site of the chapel is now a car park and open ground between Grimshaw Lane and Nelson Street, opposite No. 9 Nelson Street, M24 2BN.

Tonge PM chapel?

Genuki lists both Grimshaw Lane, Jumbo, Primitive Methodist, Middleton and Tonge, Primitive Methodist, (founded before 1895); the latter is vaguely located in the middle of Wince Brook Fields.  Tonge is a triangular-shaped area east of Middleton, bounded by the river Irk, Wince Brook and the border with Chadderton.  Its history can be found on the British History website.  Tonge includes Middleton Junction station and Jumbo.  I have not been able to find any independent reference to Tonge chapel so I believe that it is just another name for Jumbo chapel (see entry for 1877 above).

Comments about this page

  • I have found some photos of Middleton Junction Jumbo Primitive Methodist Church amateur Operatic Society dating back to the 1930’s.
    They are in a scrap book connected to a member of the society Mr H Taylor of 10 Kenyon Lane Middleton. Would love to reunite them with any family members.

    By Colin Meredith (22/09/2023)

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