Coventry Paradise (Bethesda) Primitive Methodist chapel

Cross Street Foleshill CV6 5GW

Former Sunday School building at Paradise Primitive Methodist chapel, Foleshill
Anne Langley February 2020
Coventry Paradise (Bethesda) Primitive Methodist chapel

Google Street View in July 2016 shows that in Cross Street, just off Stoney Stanton Road, stands the Shree Mandhata Samaj.  The building bears the date 1907 and the wording Primitive Methodist Schools, together with a number of foundation stones. The chapel itself was on what is now the car park at the junction of the two roads.

Paradise (also known as Bethesda and later Edg(e)wick) Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1828 to seat 296 people.  In 1851 the religious census showed an average congregation of 110, with 130 Sunday-school pupils.

The original chapel was replaced in 1857. The ceiling was very low and the walls too weak to be raised so the original chapel could not readily be enlarged; instead it met the need for a place for the Sunday School to meet.  The new chapel accommodated 350 people and had a gallery at one end.

There is an account by John Thomas of the opening on January 11th 1857 in the Primitive Methodist magazine of March 1857. Sermons at the opening services and tea meetings were preached by J Moxon of Market Bosworth and Miss Buck of Leicester, Mr Stafford (who organised much of the fundraising), Mr Thomas and assorted ministers of other denominations.

By 1940, the chapel had 320 sittings and thirteen additional rooms.  In 1950, Paradise chapel amalgamated with the Broad Street congregation (where the Chapel had been destroyed by bombing) to form Edgewick Methodist chapel.


Primitive Methodist magazine of March 1857 pp. 172-173

Victoria County History : Warwickshire vol 8 accessed through British History Online 27/12/2016

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  • Primitive Methodists started meeting in the Paradise district of Foleshill in 1823 and built a Bethesda chapel in 1828 (subsequently rebuilt in 1856) on the corner between Cross Road and Stoney Stanton Road. The 1851 religious census records that 106 adults attended the evening service and 155 children the morning Sunday School; the form was completed by chapel steward William Biddle, a grocer. In 1852-3 they were holding afternoon and evening services on Sundays and an evening service on Tuesdays. Protracted and Missionary meetings were to be held and a Watch Night meeting on December 31st; the Society Steward H. Harris was also a preacher as was G. Orton. A grand Sunday School building was erected in 1907; it incorporated 15 engraved stone plaques which say ‘T.E. DAVIDSON & SON ARCHITECT, THOMAS RANDLE BUILDER, REV. W.C. LEADBETTER MINISTER’, ‘MISS HORSLEY FOR JUNIOR CE’, ‘MR. J.C. JELLEY’, ‘MR. W. LIGGINS’, ‘MR. J. WEBSTER’, ‘MR. W.H. EDEN, MR. J. DOWELL FOR THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS’, ‘MR. W. ADAMS JP’, ‘MR. W. JOHNSON MP’, ‘MR. W. HORSLEY FOR THE SUNDAY SCHOOL’, MR. J.W. LIDDEL’, ‘MR. I. OSBORNE FOR HIS BOYS CLASS’, ‘MR. N. BOSWORTH’, ‘MR. W. GREENWAY’, ‘MASTER T. BACHELOR’, ‘MR. C.C. KNOWLES’. The chapel appears on Warwickshire Ordnance Survey maps from 1900s-1950s and in local trade directories from 1850-1932. It was the centre of the north Coventry Primitive Methodist circuit and did not join The Methodist Church until 1945, when it amalgamated with Broad St. Wesleyans to become Edgewick. The chapel had been demolished by 1955; however, the Sunday School building still survives in good condition and is used as an Indian Community Centre. Sources: religious census for Warwickshire, HO 129.399.1.4.16; Warwickshire trade directories and Ordnance Survey maps; Victoria County History for Warwickshire Vol. 8, p. 393; site visits 2017-19.

    By Anne Langley (28/02/2020)

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