This page started with just a newspaper clipping , to which the 1851 return to the Census of Public Religious Worship was added . Chris Wells then put together an account of the chapel’s history.
The newspaper clip is an account of a Sunday School social, at which Miss Albison was the pianist, Mrs Radcliffe the violinist, and Mr Harry Roberts the master of ceremonies.
On the Sunday, a presentation was made to Mr T J Hilton ‘on the completion of 50 years as a scholar, teacher and member of this school and church.’ Mr Fred Dawson presided, and Mr S Heywood and Mr Gough spoke of the good work that was being done.
This is the story of the chapel Chris Wells constructed:-
A detailed history of this and the Chapel Street chapel that replaced it can be found in the ‘Centenary Souvenir pamphlet, 1834-1934’; all of the quotations below are from this source except where otherwise stated.
1834: From ‘There is Holy Ground’ – A History of Methodism in Middleton 1760-1950 (Middleton Library):
‘Meanwhile Primitive Methodism had been firmly established in Rhodes by a zealous band of missionaries from the Middleton society who started activities in the village in 1834 [1835 according to British History Online: Middleton (original source 1911)].
First services were held in the home of Peter Horrocks, between Boardman Lane and Foxall Street, but soon, in a house across the street, bedrooms were converged to make a long room, known as the “room upsteps”, for the meetings.
Opening services were conducted by the Rev. T. King, …’
1846: ‘ … who, ten years later, was to preach again at the opening of the first church, and again, 14 years later, when the school was added.
It was in 1841 that leaders of the flourishing society decided to launch a building fund …the church was built in 1846 at a cost of £300.’
‘A stone from the old building set in the wall of the new [1907 chapel] bears the inscription “Primitive Methodist Chapel A.D. 1846. Hitherto have the Lord helped us”.
The chapel can be seen on the 1889-91 25” OS map at the junction between Chapel Street and Yates Street (both much later roads); it scales at about 56ft x 32ft (the school behind was added in 1860).
According to the 1851 Census Return, the chapel (location not given) opened in 1846 and had seating for 204. Attendance on 30 March was, in the afternoon, 84 adults and 112 scholars; in the evening 58 adults and 35 scholars.
1848: ‘In November it was decided to light the premises with gas. … Numerous devices were adopted to “defray the expenses of the gas” ’.
1853: This chapel appears on the 1853 Q3 Manchester 1st Circuit Plan. There were 12 ‘Places’ in the circuit. Sunday services were at 2.30 and 6pm, led once a month by one of the ministers and every other week by a local preacher. The two ministers took turns at leading services at 8pm on alternate Tuesdays.
1860: From the Middleton Albion of 7 January:
‘PRIMITIVES, MIDDLETON. – The annual Christmas tea party was held in the Primitive Methodist Schoolroom, Mount Pleasant, on Monday last, when about 250 sat down to an excellent tea.’
The school had just been opened; it can be seen on the 1889-91 25” OS map behind the chapel and scales at about 36ft x 32ft with an extension behind about 17ft x 32ft.
1862: According to the Rochdale Observer of 26 July:
‘SUNDAY SCHOOL SERMONS. – On Sunday last, two sermons were preached in the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Mount Pleasant, Middleton …’.
Today, Mount Pleasant is an east-west road off Broad Street in Rhodes (see 1889-91 25” OS map).
1863: ‘In the Spring of 1863 a number of enthusiastic souls connected with the Primitive Methodist Church at Rhodes conceived the idea of a mission to the villagers living on the high lands of Bowlee. [They] commenced their work, first in the open air, and subsequently in a cottage which was converted into a meeting room.’
1867: The 1867 Register of Non-Conformist Chapels (Primitive Methodist), Oldham Registration District listed two entries for Rhodes #100 and Rhodes (Ebenezer) unnumbered. I think these both refer to the Mount Pleasant chapel.
1886: The Heywood Advertiser of 19 March 1886 reported on a meeting of the Middleton Band of Hope Union whose membership included 198 from the Primitive Methodist, Rhodes (Salem) chapel.
1889: The Middleton Guardian of 5 January reported under the RHODES news that: ‘the congregational party was held on New Year’s Day, about 250 sitting down to tea. A meeting was afterwards held’ followed by a programme of songs, readings, etc.’
1891: From the Middleton Guardian of 16 May:
‘Primitive Methodist, Rhodes. – Founded 1834. Minister, Rev. W. Goodman … Scholars – male 74, female 69, total 143; teachers – male 17, female 9, total, 26; Band of Hope, 40. Friday, Scarboro’; Saturday Queen’s Park [just north of Heywood].’
1895: ‘In 1893 it was decided that a new school was necessary … By October, 1895, when the present class rooms were opened, the amount of money in hand for this purpose was about £400, leaving a debt of almost £200.’
1906: According to the booklet ‘There is Holy Ground’, the chapel was demolished in July 1906 to make way for a new chapel on the same site (see Middleton Rhodes Chapel Street Primitive Methodist chapel’ on this website).