Stoke-on-Trent Burslem Clowes Memorial Primitive Methodist Church Staffordshire

This chapel was built in 1878

Photo No.1 Clowes Memorial Chapel | Kind permission of Janet Field
Photo No.1 Clowes Memorial Chapel
Kind permission of Janet Field
Photo No.2
Photo No.2

The land for this large stone built chapel in Church Street was purchased in December 1878 at a cost of £1050 and later a cottage and more land was purchased for £250. It was an ambitious project as the total assets of the society only amounted to £40.This came from the selling of Zoar Chapel in Nile Street. At the time the Primitive Methodists were undaunted by the scale of the project and they went forward in faith. On June 10th 1878 a stone laying ceremony took place and the Chief Bailiff of Burslem laid the Memorial Stone. The chapel took on the illustrious name of William Clowes.

Twenty years after the opening £3000 had been raised and paid in interest and the debt was reduced by £2000. Still not satisfied the Primitives made plans to extend the premises to include a Sunday School. In December 1898 the three cottages adjoining the church were purchased and in October 1900 the extensions were opened. Within a year a further £1,300 had been raised.

The society of Clowes Memorial Chapel worked unfailingly to clear their debt but it took until June 1938 for this to be realised. On that day the Church Treasurer declared ‘I am today returning the Deeds of the property together with the Equitable Mortgage Deed duly cancelled’.The mortgage was dramatically burned at a meeting in the church.

However, it is not just the financial aspect of this chapel that needs to be remembered. The Love of God was always at the heart of this society and here lives were changed and enriched and men and women found peace and the true meaning of life.

In the 1950s sadness descended for the first time in the history of  Clowes Memorial Chapel when it became apparent that the chapel would have to close. For many years the building had been affected by mining subsidence and despite all the efforts to stem the deterioration it continued until the building became unsafe. The people here remembered the sacrifices made by their forebears to erect and maintain this chapel and so it was with heavy hearts that the decision to close was made. On December 9th 1956 the ministry of Clowes ceased. A pamphlet published especially for that day quotes ‘The box may be broken, but the fragrance will not be lost. The spirit of Clowes will be carried into other churches and that for which it has stood will find expression in other and wider spheres’.

The chapel was demolished soon after and the land made way for a car park for the firm of Johnson Matthey. In 2015 the only reminder is that Church Street became William Clowes Street.

Photograph No 2  shows a possible site where the chapel once stood.


The information and photo No1 shown here came from a pamphlet kindly donated by Janet Field.

Photos 2 taken December 2015

OS Map Ref:118:SJ868497 (References approximate)

Comments about this page

  • We have a copy of this plate in the collection at Englesea Brook Museum. Revd F H Edwards (1877-1946) was the minister at Clowes Memorial Church, Burslem 1913-1918.

    By Jill Barber (06/12/2018)
  • I have two porcelain plates commemorating the Clowes Memorial Church 1913 – 1918. The plates made at the Wood and Sons Trent pottery, have a cobalt blue rim, edged in gold with a black and white photo image of a gentleman in the centre. the reverse side is signed “yours sincerely Fred H Edwards”
    Can you tell me anything about the gentleman whose picture is on the front of the plates and if they would be of sentimental value / interest to anyone?

    By TC (30/11/2018)

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