Thanks to Chris Wells for researching the story of the chapel
1867: A preaching room appears on the 1867 List of Places for Public Religious Worship, Lancashire No. 99 – presumably the small room in Sugar Lane (see later).
The Bury Times of 20 April reported at length on ‘RADCLIFFE – LAYING THE CORNER STONE OF A NEW PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL AND SCHOOL:
The ceremony of laying the corner stone of a new Primitive Methodist Chapel and School took place a Radcliffe yesterday afternoon. The want of a chapel has long been felt by the society at Radcliffe as insufficient accommodation has prevented, to a considerable extent, many persons from joining the Primitive Methodist body at that place. Hitherto the only place in which divine service could be carried out has been a small room in Sugar Lane, and this has been found so inadequate that it was determined to build the present school and chapel. The building has been designed and will be erected under the immediate superintendence of Rev. J. Mould, circuit minister, who for the last twenty years has had considerable experience in chapel building. It will be a plain but neat-looking structure, in the Italian style of architecture with commodious vestries attached, and calculated to seat about 280 persons. Underneath the chapel will be a school capable of accommodating about 300 children. There will also be a cellar for the heating apparatus. The total cost is estimated from £700 to £800. The contractors for the stone and brickwork are Messrs. Fletcher, Hardman and Smith, of Rochdale; and for the woodwork, Mr. Howarth of Ramsbottom. It is worthy of mention that though the society at Radcliffe numbers only about thirty members, most of whom are poor people, they have contributed nobly towards the work. So far the money that has been raised has come principally from the members in Bury and Radcliffe, but an appeal to the general public is intended to be made.
The Rev. J. MOULD opened the proceedings …’
Then the Bury Times of 19 October reported on:
‘OPENING OF THE NEW PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL AND SCHOOL.—The Primitive Methodists have struggled for upwards of twenty years to gain a firm footing at Radcliffe and have eventually succeeded in their object. …
The edifice, as we have stated, is situated in Railway-street, and in close proximity to the railway station. In its construction it is neat and substantial, but of no particular style of architecture. The front is of rock-faced stone, relieved with pilasters; the back and sides are of brick. The windows are circular-headed, two of them being supplied with ventilators. The building is 42 feet long, 33 feet wide and 16 feet from floor to ceiling. The entrance is by an easy set of steps, and the interior has a neat and inviting appearance. The pews are stained and varnished with door and flanged backs, making them easy and comfortable. There are two aisles, on the right and left side, and directly under the pulpit are the seats for the choir. The whole can be lighted by four beautiful star lights suspended from ventilators in the ceiling, round which are circular mouldings. At the foot of the pulpit stairs is the minister’s vestry, which is very appropriately furnished. The chapel is capable of seating about 240 persons. Beneath the chapel is the school, which may be entered either by steps from the chapel or by a side door on the outside. This portion of the building is admirably adapted for the purposes for which it is intended, being lofty, well ventilated, and commodious in every respect, the dimensions being equal to those of the chapel. The room is furnished all round with flanged backed seats attached to the walls, and is well supplied with forms &c. The entire cost of the erection is about £750, towards which £260 has already been raised, and with the opening services it is hoped to make this sum up to £400, leaving a debt of £350. The building has been designed by and erected under the superintendence of the Rev. J. Mould, the circuit minister, and we are sure everyone who has seen the edifice will agree with us in saying that it is a credit to an amateur architect. During the last twenty years Mr. Mould has had considerable experience in chapel building, and if we are to take this as a specimen of his skill we are almost inclined to think he has mistaken his profession. … We must not omit to mention that both the chapel and school are heated by steam, the apparatus for which works well, and is situated in a cellar under the school vestry.’
The chapel can be seen on the 1889 OS Town Plan; it is labelled ‘Methodist Chapel Primitive, Seats for 200’.
1869: From the Bury Times of 24 April:
‘RADCLIFFE Band of Hope Meeting. – A Band of Hope meeting was held on Tuesday night in the Primitive Methodist School, Railway-street, and it was very well attended. The proceedings consisted of singing, reciting, and a number of speeches …’
1871: Worrall’s Directory of Bury, Bolton and district: p. 199, Radcliffe Places of Worship and their Ministers: Methodist (Primitive) Chapels: Blackburn street and Railway street [presumably this refers to a single chapel?]. The Street Directory section shows the PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL under RAILWAY STREET (off Blackburn Street) between Mount Mill and Heaton St and between nos. 13 and 15.
1885: From the Bury Times of 30 May:
‘Primitive Methodist Railway-street. – Scholars processed to a field belonging to Mr. Fitton, on the Bury Old Road. Females 150, males 150, total 303. Teachers Females 13.’
1900: From the Cotton Factory Times of 22 June:
‘A meeting for the members of the Weavers, Winders, and Warpers’ Association in Summerseat district was held in the Primitive Methodist School, Railway-street …’
1940: The chapel was listed in the 1940 Methodist Church Buildings Report Districts ‘B’, Circuit 230 Radcliffe. The following information was provided:
Railway Street (Radcliffe): made of brick; seating 166; pews; one hall and three other rooms.
1959: According to Genuki, the chapel closed in 1959.
The site of the chapel is now rough ground along Railway Street from JB & J Tooling Services (Bury) Ltd, Bridge House, Railway Street, M26 3AA, and next to the back yard of W.T. Fabrications. Ltd, in Dale Street, M26 3AA.