Blaenavon Bethel Primitive Methodist chapel
King Street NP4 9QQ
The Primitive Methodist magazine for 1830 contains an account by Thomas Baynton of the opening of Blaenavon Primitive Methodist chapel on Sunday 6th December 1829. Preachers at the opening were Brothers Richards & Turner.
The society grew after a visit to the town by Hugh Bourne, in 1823. Prior to the chapel being built, the society met in an uncomfortable engine house. The new chapel which was on King Streethad a gallery at one end and measured 23′(w) x 35′(l).
The Primitive Methodist magazine for July 1853 contains an account by John Richards of the enlargement of the chapel by which time it was in the Pontypool circuit. After the alterations it was 38′ x 33.5′ and 19′ high. It also gained a gallery, gas lighting and a floor of red deal.
After the re-opening, congregations and the society improved tremendously. A tea meeting for 650 people held on April 18th 1853 raised £27/9/7 towards the overall cost of £44/10/5. A generous donation came from Mrs Lawrence.
However, having built a magnificent new chapel on Broad Street in 1878, the Primitive Methodist society sold King Street Chapel to a group of Baptists who had broken away from Broad Street English Baptist Chapel. There were extensive renovations in 1883 and the building of a schoolroom in 1887. On Google Street View in 2016 Bethel Chapel still witnesses and retains many of its late 19th century features
The Primitive Methodist Chapel in Broad Street, completed in the gothic style in 1879, was undoubtedly Blaenavon’s most elaborate and largest chapel. This was its undoing as congregations dwindled and aged in the second half of the twentieth century. Broad Street chapel closed in 1966 and was demolished in 1972. The members joined those worshipping in Park Street.
Primitive Methodist magazine 1830 p.289
Primitive Methodist magazine July 1853 p.432