Rochdale Oldham Road (Crawford Street) Primitive Methodist chapel

Rochdale Oldham Road (Crawford Street) Primitive Methodist chapel

The Primitive Methodist magazine for September 1854 contains an account by Robert Richardson of the opening of Rochdale Oldham Road Primitive Methodist chapel.

The society was started in 1851 and by 1854 had 44 members and a Sunday school of 197 scholars who met in a rented room over a blacksmith’s shop.  Because of the smoke and the stairs, this was less than ideal and they determined to build a new chapel.  The list of donors was headed by Brother W Kershaw with £5; when he heard that others followed his example he regretted not giving £20 rather than £5.

The opening services were held on 14th June 1854, with sermons by Revs. S Smith, T King, J Cheetham, W Antliff and WH Parkinson (Independent).

The chapel is 35′ x 36′ and 15′ to the ceiling.  It accommodates 144.  Under the chapel there is a schoolroom. Major donors included J Petre, JL Ashworth, TA Crook, J Ashworth and sons, John Bright MP and Brothers. Clement Roydes, J Butterworth and Sons, John Hoyle, James Hoyle, T Booth, H & J King, Mrs Hoyle and Mrs Martindale.

When I created this page, I could not find where this chapel was on the old Ordnance Survey maps of the area and did not know whether the chapel building still existed.  I asked whether anyone knew – see the comments below for attempts to find the  location.

More of the story

Chris Wells has researched the story of the chapel, and presents it here.  There is an extended study by Chris in the download at the foot of the page.  The map on the page illustrates Chris’ research.

Crawford Street lies about a mile south-east of Rochdale town centre.  It branches east from the Durham Street Bridge on Oldham Road, running parallel to and just to the north of the Rochdale Canal.  It can be seen on the 1890 50” Rochdale OS Town Map.

1851:  A Primitive Methodist mission was opened in Oldham Road (location unknown).

1854:  A Primitive Methodist chapel was built in Crawford Street (location unknown) with a schoolroom below.  According to the Past and Present Methodist Chapels: Bolton & Rochdale District, records survive for this chapel from 1854.

1856:  The Rochdale Observer of 17 May 1856 reported on a Sunday School procession through Rochdale.  The Crawford Street contingent consisted of 102 boys, 126 girls and 12 teachers (a substantial body!).

1858:  The 1858 edition of the Post Office Directory for Rochdale lists two PM chapels: Drake Street and Crawford Street.

1863:  On 7 March and again on 12 November a ‘Band of Hope meeting was held in the Primitive Methodist School-room, Crawford Street.  The meeting was enlivened [by] recitations, singing, and addresses …’

1865: On Christmas Day 1865, ‘The annual public tea party … was held … when upwards of 400 persons partook of an excellent repast.’

1867:  The 1867 Registrar-General’s List of Places for Public Religious Worship: Lancashire includes

‘No. 102: Rochdale, Crawford Street, Oldham Road’.

1869:  The 1869 Slater’s Trade Directory for Rochdale lists thirteen PM Places of Worship including Crawford Street (see ‘Rochdale and Area PM Societies and Chapels’ on this website’).

1875:  ‘There were 200 scholars on the books, and they were increasing so fast that new premises [a new chapel and Schools in Durham Street] were absolutely necessary.’  Furthermore, the ‘building [Crawford Street chapel and school] was sinking, and if so it must be built upon a bog.’

October 1875:   ‘The Rev. John Mould read a report on the cost of the [Durham Street] building ….

‘The chairman reminded him of one matter which he had forgotten, namely what had been done with the old premises [Crawford Street].  Well, they had sold them for £340.  There was a mortgage of £300, and when that was arranged, and every matter paid off, they had received just 9s for the old premises.  …’

1890:  The 1890 50” Rochdale OS Town Map shows a building on the north side of Crawford Street at the junction with Moss Street (possibly originally the chapel) labelled ‘Crawford Arms (P.H.)’.

The possible site of the Crawford Street/Moss Street building is now occupied by the Dar-ul-Munawar Ghamkol Sharif mosque at OL16 5SX.


Primitive Methodist magazine September 1854 pp.559-560



Comments about this page

  • The chapel Carl is describing in the comment below is the former United Methodist chapel in Lowerplace rather than the Primitive Methodist chapel. Carl’s post prompted further investigation and you can read about it here.

    By Christopher Hill (06/01/2023)
  • From my casual research (which is what brought me to this page), this church was on Oldham Road where it runs parallel with Watkin Street, in an area called Lowerplace.

    The church was obviously reconstructed at some point as it is shown as a Methodist Chapel (Free United) (seats for 800) in an 1890 survey (map published 1892). The land fronts Oldham Road between Wandrus Hardware Store (OL16 4TD) and the Plough Inn.

    The land is unbuilt on except for a small scout ? hut in one corner. I cannot recall any permanent building being there in the last 40 years. The archives at Manchester City Council states that it has marriage records up to 1957, which might give a good indication of when in closed. It is listed there as Lowerplace United Methodist.

    As stated in the description on here, a benefactor was Clement Royds of the wealthy Royds family (mainly associated with St Edmunds, St Clements and Christchurch Healey). There is a street a few hundred yards away called Royds Street.

    By Carl Faulkner (05/01/2023)
  • Is this the same chapel as the one we currently have listed as Durham Street here? Susan Tyson’s comment would make it appear so.
    That building still carries the words “Primitive Methodist school” and is clearly a two storey building, although the plaque over the door is illegible on Street View..

    By Christopher Hill (19/09/2022)
  • It was my childhood church. It closed, I think in the early 1960s. It was called Durham Street Methodist curch and was in the Deeplish area of Rochdale, close to Oldham Road. I believe it became a sweet factory and subsequently possibly a mosque.

    By Susan Tyson (19/09/2022)
  • I too have been unable to find this chapel on old maps and it does not appear in the 1867 List of Places for Public Religious Worship (Smith Street chapel does appear). Was it only short-lived?

    By Chris Wells (31/08/2022)

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