Bedminster Down Zion Primitive Methodist chapel
Bishopsworth Rd, Bristol BS13 7JW
On Bishopworth Road in Bedminster Down, Bristol, there is the Zion Events Cafe. On the front of the building is the engraved stone saying “Zion Primitive Methodist chapel erected AD 1890”. On the 1903-4 Ordnance Survey map there is an additional label for a Sunday school immediately to the north of the Events cafe – pretty much where there is a chapel shaped building called Zion Heights. Was this the remains of the Sunday School (although it looks like a later building and has a larger footprint)?
Wikipedia tells us that “The Methodist church in the area shut down on Sunday 31 August 2008. The Methodist church consisted of two buildings, the main chapel and a church hall.”
But there is more to it than that. The laying of the foundation stones for the 1890 chapel is recorded in the Primitive Methodist magazine of 1890 We are also told that the 1890 building replaced a previous school-chapel. Zion Primitive Methodist chapel exists on the same site on the 1886 Ordnance Survey map, and in the 1864 Primitive Methodist magazine there is an account of the opening of an earlier chapel in October 1863.
This is the account:
“Chapel Opening.—Bedminster Down, Bristol Station.—Bedminster Down is situated about two miles south-west of Bristol, and contains a rather large though scattered population. At this place we have conducted religious worship during the last twenty-six years in the house of Mr. Joseph Jenkins (local preacher and class-leader), where every possible accommodation has been rendered to the cause, and where many precious souls have been converted to God, and a society gathered which now numbers twenty-five members.
For some time past the cottage has been far too small to accommodate the congregations, hence it became very desirable to erect a suitable and more commodious place of worship ; accordingly arrangements were made for the erection which is now completed.
The chapel is 35 feet by 20 in the clear, and 13 feet from the floor to the ceiling. It is in good substantial stone building, with four circular-headed windows, and one flat one, and a circular headed door with fan-light. It is fitted up with a neat platform, twelve pews, and free seats, and will accommodate 150 per sons.
This sanctuary was opened for Divine worship October 25th, 1863. Sermons were preached in the morning and evening by the superintendent of the station, and in the afternoon by the Bev. E. Ball. The chapel was densely crowded, and God was graciously present to pardon the penitents who were anxiously seeking salvation.
A tea meeting was held on the following day, when 150 persons surrounded the tables. The public meeting was addressed by the circuit ministers and Messrs. J. Butler, J. Cousins, and J. Lambert. The cost of the building is about £120, towards which we have raised £00, and the sum of £20 is promised for the first anniversary. Thomas Hobson.”
Primitive Methodist magazine 1864 pages 113-114
Primitive Methodist magazine October 1890 page 635