1881: The booklet ‘There is Holy Ground’ – A History of Methodism in Middleton 1760-1950 (Middleton Library) has a page giving a brief history of the Morton Street chapel:
‘In 1876 the Rev. Miles Dickenson (minister appointed to the circuit 1875-8) obtained a plot of land in Morton Street. He leased some of it to … a builder and in 1879 sold the whole plot to … a schoolmaster. He [the schoolmaster] started building a day school … but in 1880, being in financial difficulty, mortgaged the land and uncompleted buildings to Mr. Joseph Sidebottom for £1000 … Mr. Sidebottom foreclosed the mortgage, and in 1881 sold the land and buildings to trustees of the Primitive Methodist Morton Street School and premises for £900. Whether the original lease was obtained by the Rev. Miles Dickenson for the purpose of building a church cannot be ascertained.
The organ which had been used in the Irk Street chapel for 21 years was re-erected in the new building and served for a further 52 years.’
The building can be seen on the 1889 OS Town Plan labelled ‘School, Boys and Girls’, and scales at about 84ft x 33ft. The 1915 25” OS map shows the same building labelled ‘P.M. Chapel’. It looks from the image above as though it was a two-storey building with the chapel upstairs and school downstairs.
From the Middleton Albion of 12 November 1881:
‘The annual tea party and stall for the Primitive Methodist Ladies’ Sewing Society, took place in the new schoolroom, Morton Street, Middleton. … The proceeds, which are in aid of the new chapel fund, amount to about £18.’
1886: The Heywood Advertiser of 19 March 1886 reported on a meeting of the Middleton Band of Hope Union whose membership included 100 from the Morton Street chapel.
1889: The Middleton Guardian of 5 January reported:
‘PRIMITIVE METHODIST. — On New Year’s Day the annual children’s party in connection with the above school was held in the schoolroom, Morton-street, when about 300 of the scholars and friends sat down to tea.’
1891: From the Middleton Guardian of 16 May:
‘Primitive Methodist, Morton-street. – Founded 1823 [this was the Irk Street chapel]. Minister, Rev. W. Goodman … Scholars – male 116, female 146, total 262; teachers – male 19, female 20, total, 39; books in library 223; Band of Hope 100. Friday, with Sunday-school Union to York and Scarboro’; Saturday, meet at school, then proceed to a field for play, kindly lent by Mr. H. Heywood, J.P.’
1940: The chapel was listed in the 1940 Methodist Church Buildings Report Districts ‘M’, Circuit 825 Middleton. The following information was provided:
Morton Street: made of brick; seating 370; pews; two halls and two other rooms.
1947-60: The original Marriage Registers for this period are held in Manchester Central Library, M275/845/1-2.
The site of the chapel is now a yard between Bemus Construction Services, Brook House, and Burns Rubber Ltd, Unit 1A, Systems House, Morton Street, M24 6AN.