Doncaster; Spring Gardens Primitive Methodist chapel
The Primitive Methodist magazine for May 1854 includes an extensive account by the wonderfully named Robinson Cheeseman of the laying of the foundation stone of Doncaster Spring Gardens Primitive Methodist chapel.
The chapel was planned to be “elegant and spacious” by the architect, Mr W SIssons, who had died by the time of the ceremony which took place on Tuesday March 14th 1854. The day is described in great detail, including the procession from the previous chapel in Duke Street, who held the trowel and mallet with which the stone was laid, and details of the sermons.
Sermons were preached by Rev T Crompton of York, Rev R Cheeseman, Rev Brownson of Sheffield, Mr M’Culloch of York and Rev J Garner. The stone was laid by Alderman James Meek of York.
After the ceremony they proceeded to a grand tea meeting for 700 people in Doncaster Guildhall, enjoying the “the beverage ‘which cheers but not inebriates’.” The children didn’t do quite so well; they went to the Duke Street chapel and each one was given a bun.
Alderman Meek also donated £10 and Mr W Morley Esq gave “a munificent donation of £400 towards providing a large number of free sittings”.
Eight months later, in January 1855, there is an account of the chapel opening on Sunday October 15th. You get some idea of the size and grandeur of the place; the school room accommodated 500, the chapel itself was 62′ x 54′ and 32′ high from floor to ceiling and the overall cost was £2,300. The chapel is described in great detail.
Speakers at the opening services and tea meeting for 700 included Rev. T. Whitehead Rev. T. Bennett, Rev. Peter Samuel (Wesleyan), Rev. J. Brownson, Sir Isaac Morley, Rev.J. W. Howell and Rev Robinson Cheeseman.
“We regret to state that Mr. Alderman James Meek, of York, who laid the foundation-stone, was unable to attend the meeting, owing to severe
physical indisposition. He sent, however, as a substitute, a cheque for £5.”
In 2016, Spring Gardens still exists, although it has now been extensively redeveloped leaving no idea there was ever a chapel there.
Primitive Methodist magazine May 1854 pp. 305-307
Primitive Methodist magazine January 1855 pp. 40-41