An enquiry about the former chapel in Wetmore Street prompted us to explore. The enquiry told us that the chapel was built in 1885 and foundation stones were laid by John Prince and John Holden.
This is what we know so far:-
- The chapel is not shown on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map, but is marked on the 1920 map as a Primitive Methodist chapel .
- A 1903 Christian Messenger article on Burton on Trent tells us that there were seven chapels in the town, without mentioning Wetmore Road.
- Our Burton on Trent preachers plans all pre-date the chapel’s construction.
- The enquiry told us that I believe that you have seen that we have an article on John Prince, one of the stone layers. An active local Primitive Methodist, he was also a Parish Councillor and Vice President of the Uttoxeter Temperance Society.
- Any records from the Primitive Methodist chapel and society are likely to have been passed to the County archives. They may be stored under the chapel name, or under the circuit, the groupings that chapels were organised in. The National Archives Index shows that the Burton Family and Local History Centre contains a number of records of Wetmore Road, including registers, minutes and accounts. It must be worth a visit to find out more.
- The 1940 list of Methodist buildings created after the different branches of Methodism united in 1932 shows four circuits in Burton – based on chapels in George Street (previously United Methodist), Station Street (previously Wesleyan Methodist), Mosley Street and Parker Street (both previously Primitive Methodist). Wetmore Road was in the Mosley Street Circuit. The record shows that the chapel (spelled Wetmoor rather than Wetmore) was brick built, accommodated 160 people, had forms rather than pews or chairs and included a Sunday School Hall and one other room.
In 2022 the chapel is in community use as the Wetmore Centre. Primitive Methodism was a working class, community based, democratic sort of Methodism, actively involved in education and trade unionism, often using ways that were not respectable, including the active role of women preachers, lay leadership and outdoor preaching. They would be delighted to learn that a former chapel was making a valuable contribution to the local community.
Can you tell more?