Leicester George Street Primitive Methodist chapel
Leicester First circuit
Primitive Methodism came to Leicester in 1818. The first Chapel erected was in George Street at the junction with Bedford Street, which opened in 1819, and could seat 900 people.
Thomas Morgan tells us in 1842 of its re-opening after it was re-roofed and re-ceilinged. More room was created in the gallery and windows repaired all for under £155.
William Cutts tells us that in 1854 it was closed for improvements: “We have put in seventeen semi-circular – headed windows ; placed three neat ventilators in the ceiling; laid down a boarded floor; painted oak, grained, and varnished the pews, and painted the walls. We have widened the entrance, put ridge tiles on the roof; corniced the spouting; thoroughly cleansed down and pointed the walls; a new road has been made to the boys’ school-room; gas has been put into the girls’ school-room, for the band and class-meetings, and the contractor at his own cost has put up a neat and ornamental cornice round the ceiling of the chapel.” All this cost £170.
Preachers at the opening services from November 5th 1854 were Rev. A. Johnson, Rev.C. Hawthorne (Wesleyan) William Cutts and Rev. T. Stevenson (Baptist). Donors included W. Mason (circuit steward), Mr. F.Warner, Mr. H. Bell, Mr. W. Archer, Mr. W. Dawson; the mayor gave £3.
The Primitive Methodist Magazine of April 1857 contains a further account by William Cutts of the improving state of Primitive Methodist chapels in the Leicester First Circuit. He includes a section on the finances of the George Street chapel. It had a debt of £70 which they wanted to reduce – and decided in a fit of enthusiasm to raise it all in one go. They did this by dividing the £70 shares which were then taken up by those that could afford them. The treasurer and secretary were in the vestry every fortnight to accept contributions. George Freer, George Riley, John Dann and Thomas Talbot took responsibility for collecting to cover the remaining debt.
I’m not sure how long the building lasted, but there is no sign of it on the 1888 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map. The nearby huge barn of a place at Belgrave Gate was opened in 1882 to replace the George Street chapel.
Primitive Methodist Magazine March 1842 pp 92 and 94
Primitive Methodist Magazine January 1855 pp.44-45
Primitive Methodist Magazine April 1857 pp.243-244