The Primitive Methodist magazine of 1863 gives an account of the opening of a Primitive Methodist chapel in London Street, Southport in October 1862. You can read the article further down this page.
The 1909 Conference Handbook tells us that at various times in the following years the chapel was adapted, a gallery added and schoolroom built to meet the growing needs of the work. In the Spring of 1890″ a disastrous fire at the church necessitated a change which had been long desired and sought but without success.” In 1891 they spent £6,000 on a new suite of school buildings with the capacity to accommodate worship . Much of the impetus came from Rev T Guttery and WP Hartley was very involved in the funding. He was instrumental in obtaining the site, occupied previously by two villas, and committed to giving one third of the amount raised within 6 months of the opening. Mrs Hartley laid the memorial stones. This was the first stage in the plan: stage 2 was to build the chapel to complement the school premises.
In 1904 they took the next steps towards the erection of the Church building in which the 1909 Conference met. It was opened in October 1906.
Ordnance Survey maps from 1890 show a Primitive Methodist chapel on London Street, between Derby Road and Hawesside Street. On Street View in 2018 what appears to be the 1906 building is in use as a showroom.
This is the 1863 magazine article about the opening of the chapel in 1862:-
Southport, Preston Circuit.— Southport is a beautiful, well-built watering town in Lancashire, situate about eighteen miles north of Liverpool, containing a resident population of 10,000, and during the summer months a visiting population of at least 10,000 more. To this lovely town thousands flock from different parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and Staffordshire. It is well known that many come hither in search of health, while others come for mere pleasure, and go away highly satisfied with their seaside rambles.
The Primitive Methodists, I am informed, missioned this place about the year 1830, and preached in the open air, but it appears they did not meet with much success for several years. Efforts, however, were still put forth amidst discouragements and unfavourable circumstances, till God in his mercy and providence opened their way for greater usefulness, and made them a blessing to many souls. In the year 1848 Southport was put on the Preston Circuit’s plan, and preaching services were held in a cottage on Sunday afternoons, and the Lord graciously visited our people while worshipping then ; and in the year 1853, when the Rev. W. Rowe was stationed in the circuit, a great revival took place, and many were added to the society.
In the following year a small chapel was built, where our people have worshipped till the opening of the new one. The old chapel was very small and inconvenient and in a bad situation, so much so that visitors were scarcely ever able to find it ; some visitors have gone away after being here for some time with out knowing that we had a chapel in Southport. This being the case our friends have long desired to have a more commodious place of worship in a better situation. Efforts have often been made to secure their object, but without success, till the beginning of this year, when Brothers Kaye and Graham succeeded in securing a plot of land in London-street. The land is taken on a lease for the term of ninety-nine years, at a very small rent, and is well situated, being only about three or four minutes’ walk from the railway station, or from the market place, which places are near the centre of the town.
The foundation-stone of the new chapel was laid on the 9th of August, 1862, by Jonas Segar, Esq., who delivered a very appropriate address on the occasion. Very profitable addresses were also delivered by the Revs. J. Gibson, of Liverpool, J. Graham, and John Lamb, Esq., of Preston ; the latter of whom presented to Jonas Segar, Esq., on behalf of the trustees, a silver trowel, and a mahogany mallet. A public tea meeting was held in the Temperance-hall, trays were furnished by the friends gratuitously, and a large number sat down to tea ; after which a public meeting was held, John Lamb, Esq., in the chair, and addresses were delivered by the Revs. J. Graham, E. Middleton, J. Gibson, A. M. Stalker, Baptist, W. Jowett, Independent, and Mr. Ashton, of Wigan.
The building progressed very rapidly and was completed without any loss or accident. Arrangements having been made for opening the new and beautiful sanctuary, the first opening service was held on the 23rd of October, 1862, when the Rev. Charles Garrett, Wesleyan, of Preston, preached an excellent sermon to a large congregation, and a good collection was realized. On the following Sabbath, October 26th, two sermons were preached by John Lamb, Esq., and a dedication prayer meeting was conducted in the afternoon by the Rev. R. Middleton. On the following Tuesday, October 28th, a sermon was preached by the Rev. John Harvard, Wesleyan, of Southport. On Lord’s day, the 2nd of October, three sermons were preached, that in the morning by the Rev. R. Middleton, and those in the afternoon and evening by the Rev. W. Sanderson, of Kirton Lindsey. On Sabbath, the 9th of November, sermons were preached by the Rev. J. Gibson, of Liverpool, and Mr. T. G. Higgins, of Halton; and on the 10th of November, a public tea meeting was held in the Temperance-hall. After tea the meeting adjourned to the new chapel, Jonas Segar, Esq., presided, and ad dresses were delivered by the Revs. J. Graham, R. Middleton, A M. Stalker, W. Jowett, T. Cherry, and Dr. Goodman. The meeting was of a most interesting character. The collections at all the services amounted to £33.
The chapel is built of red brick, and looks remarkably well. It does credit to the builder, Mr. Illingworth, and to the architect, Mr. Hodge. It is 48 feet by 38 feet 6 inches, and 22 feet from the floor to the ceiling, so that it will admit of a gallery when required. It is lighted by twelve circular headed windows. It is well finished inside, and well ventilated. There are forty pews, and the rest of the sittings are free. Many of have already been taken. There are two small vestries at the back, each 9 8 feet. The chapel will seat 350. The entire cost of the building will be about £520, and we have raised towards it, subscriptions and collections, £220, which leaves a debt on the chapel of £300.
We tender our thanks to the generous friends who have so nobly assisted in great work. To Jonas Segar, Esq for a donation of £25, besides giving a large donation to our old chapel ; to Mr. Joseph Armitage, of Liverpool, for £20, and to his little son George, for £l 7s. 7d saved in pence, &c., and given ; to Mrs. Grace Armitage for £5 ; to J. Stead, Esq. for £5 ; to Mr. Haigh, for £5 ; to Mr. Joseph Marshall, for £5; to Mr. William Wright, for £5 ; to Mr. James Spencer, for £5 ; to Mr. Walter Smith, for £5; to Mr. Froggatt, for £5; to L. Heyworth, Esq., for £5; to Mr. Ashton, of Wigan, for £4; to Mr. Illingworth, the builder, for £4 ; and to Mr. P. Ball, for .£2 ; to Mr. W. Wright, sen., for £2 ; to Mr. Green, for £2 ; to Mr. Pendlebury, for £2 ; to a Friend, for £2 ; and to many others for donations of £2 and downwards : and to Mrs. Green, near Manchester for a handsome velvet cushion for the pulpit ; and to Mr. Armitage, of Liverpool, for a large pulpit Bible. E. Mlddleton.
Primitive Methodist magazine 1863 page 301-303
Primitive Methodist magazine 1891 October page 635
Handbook of the 90th Annual Primitive Methodist Conference held in Southport in 1909