Newcastle upon Tyne Arthur's Hill Primitive Methodist chapel

There’s an account in the 1864 Primitive Methodist magazine about the laying of the foundation stone for a new chapel at Arthur’s Hill, in Newcastle upon Tyne.  As is usual in these magazine accounts, there was no detail of where this chapel was.

This is the account:

“Foundation-stone laying, Arthur’s Hill, Newcastle-on-Tyne.—The foundation-stone of a new Primitive Methodist chapel was laid here, June 29th, by Mrs. William Stewart. A bottle, containing an account of the rise and progress of the society at Arthur’s Hill, a preachers’ plan, trustees’ names, daily papers, coins of the realm, and other articles, was then deposited in the cavity of the stone.

The trowel and mallet for the due performance of the ceremony were then presented to Mrs. Stewart, who performed the ceremony in an able manner. The Revs. J. Petty, R. Fenwick, and Mr. H.J. M’Culloch, of York, each delivered an excellent address. A collection of upwards of £16 was made.

At half-past four o’clock about 600 friends took tea in the school room of Nelson-street chapel. At the close of the tea a public meeting was held in the chapel ; Mr. W. Stewart occupied the chair. Mr. Parker, the treasurer, read the financial account.

The chapel will be 63 feet in length by 40 in breadth, and will accommodate about 500 persons. It will have two vestries at the end nearest the door, and also an end elevation over the vestries, so that all the space will be available for sitting room.

The total cost will be about £850, and the sum in hand is £386. It is intended to hold a bazaar next spring. Addresses were given by Revs. J. Petty, R. Fenwick, and Mr. McCulloch, and select pieces of music performed by the choir of the chapel. T. Smith.”

David Tonks adds more information:

Arthur’s Hill is the part of Newcastle upon Tyne in the west end of the city to the north of Westgate Road.
The story of Primitive Methodism in Arthur’s Hill seems to be a little complicated:
In addition to the Primitive Methodist magazine  account of the 1864 opening, there is an article from the Primitive Methodist magazine of 1903 p. 477 by George Armstrong ‘Primitive Methodism in Newcastle and Gateshead’.  This mentions the beginning of the movement in 1842 and the opening of ‘a neat little chapel’ in West Street in 1864.  The 1:500 OS plan of 1896 says it could seat 400.  According to the Newcastle Guardian of 2 July 1864 this chapel replaced an earlier one at William Street which was ‘much too small’.  The 1862 1:500 OS plan also annotates this chapel, but I can’t quite read the number of seats on the Old Maps website.
The West Street chapel was replaced by Kingsley Terrace chapel on New Years Day 1898.  On the 1950 1:1250 plan the West Street chapel became the Murray House Community Club.
To quote Patterson pp. 317-318:
“Though the first Primitive Methodist meeting was held at Arthur’s Hill in 1834, when Mary Holmes started prayer meetings, it was not until 1842 that it was put upon the plan for regular preaching services, and much good was done in William Street. In 1864 the increasing band built a chapel in West Street. Many scenes were witnessed there which will never pass out of mind, not the least being the times of refreshing during Miss Bulmer’s mission in November, 1891”


Primitive Methodist magazine 1864 pages 629-630

Patterson, W M, (1909) ‘Northern Primitive Methodism’

Comments about this page

  • The West Street chapel opened on Sunday 1 January 1865 according to a report in the “Newcastle Daily Chronicle” the following day. There was a prayer meeting at 7am followed by morning service at 10.30am, an afternoon and an evening service. Collections on the day amounted to more than £15

    By Richard Jennings (30/08/2020)

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