Castleford Bradley Street Primitive Methodist chapel

8 Bradley St Castleford WF10 1HR

Young men's class at Castleford Bradley Street Primitive Methodist chapel in the 1930s. Rev Walter Fisher is the minister.
Steve Wild postcard collection
Bradley Street Primitive Methodist chapel, Castleford
Christian Messenger 1871, pp.65-6, provided by John Anderson
Ebenezer Chapel, Bradley Street, Castleford
Nick West
the organ at Bradley Street chapel, Castleford
Englesea Brook postcard collection
Castleford Bradley Street Primitive Methodist chapel

{this page combines three previous pages and comments CH 2021]

The first PM missionaries came to Castleford from Pontefract in 1836. They held open air services, which by 1839 had become regular mission meetings. In 1841, there were enough members to start meeting in an old cottage on Leeds Road (now Wood Street).

The first chapel opened in 1843 in an old stone barn at the junction of what became Albion Street, Church Street and Carlton Street – where the Junction public house now stands.  It cost £150 to buy and convert. You can read about it here.

The 1850s were a time of religious revival in Castleford when, ‘some of the worst characters of the district were soundly converted’. That, and the rise in population, meant the old barn was bursting at the seams by 1860. After having an offer for a piece of land on Welbeck Street rejected, the Primitive Methodists paid 3s 3d per square yard for a plot on Bradley Street, where a purpose-built chapel and Sunday School opened in 1863, which cost them £1,390.

The opening is reported (although with a slightly later opening date) in the Primitive Methodist magazine – except that the writer does not tell us where the chapel is.  As the editor comments, “It would have been as well to have said where the chapel is situated”.  John Anderson identifies it as Castleford through evidence such as the ministers’ names.

The account by Isaac Hedges tells us that the new chapel opened in April 1866 was substantial: it seated 550 and cost £1,200 of which £600 had been raised although they were optimistic of raising much more. An unusual feature of the report  is that instead of saying who preached at the opening services and celebrations, it lists ministers who were present at the opening events in April 1866 – Revs P Wilson (Selby), JT Shepherd (Doncaster), H Crabtree (Burnley), C Smith (Barnsley), H Simon, T Willis (both Congregational), Mr Balmer (United Methodist).  Donors named were T Salt, J Horn, G Pearson, , R Moxon, J Hunt, Mrs Shields, Glassmen.

Is “T Salt” Titus Salt of Saltaire? He gave the largest donation of a generous £25 and it’s the right geographical and date context. Wikipedia tells us that he donated the land on which the Wesleyan Chapel was built by public subscription in 1866–68.

The chapel was extended in 1879, and completely rebuilt in 1908, after a fire broke out at a bazaar and gutted the 1863 building.

Education was important, and a separate Sunday School was built in 1870. By 1876, there was a Young Men’s Improvement Society at Bradley Street, which was clearly still in existence in the 1930s.

The collection of postcards and photographs at the Englesea Brook Museum of Primitive Methodism includes this photograph.  It is simply labelled “organ; Bradley Street chapel”.   John Anderson identified it as the Bradley Street Primitive Methodist chapel in Castleford.

After closure it became “Happy Hippos”.  Google StreetView in 2009 shows it for sale and by 2014 and 2015 the main chapel area has been demolished, leaving attached buildings.

Geoff Dickenson commented that the ‘Twixt Aire and Calder website records that the chapel was originally built in 1866 (to confirm the 1866 date in the Primitive Methodist magazine) at a cost of £1,390. It was destroyed by fire on 10 February 1907 and rebuilt. The congregation transferred to Trinity Methodist Church in 1964. Records associated with the chapel are held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service. The 1941 statistical return records the chapel as brick built, seating 600 with 2 halls and 5 additional rooms.

Raymond Ella commented to identify relevant West Yorkshire Archive Services records:  Ref. (C24) now C11 and C415: Castleford Primitive Methodist Circuit and Chapels Records, to include PM Chapel, Bradley St., Castleford, PM Chapel Duke St., Castleford, e.g., Trustees Minutes 1874-1932, PM Chapel Carlton …..?, Castleford, PM Chapel Pontefract Rd., Castleford, PM Chapel Temple Street, Castleford.


The Lagentian – Episodes from Castleford’s History

Primitive Methodist magazine  December 1866 page 750


Comments about this page

  • Additional, at the W.Y.A.S. :
    ref. – additional, WWM43/C11/8, Bradley St., Primitive Methodists membership rolls 1879-1900, baptisms 1884-1932, continued.

    Kind regards, Ray & Mary. ( Æ ).

    By Raymond E. O. Ælla. (13/06/2022)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.