Hull Great Thornton Street Primitive Methodist Chapel

Icehouse Road, Hull HU3 2HQ

Hull Great Thornton Street Primitive Methodist chapel
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1902/420

The 1850 Primitive Methodist magazine contains an account by John Bywater of the opening of a new chapel in Great Thornton Street, in Hull.  Preachers at the opening services from January 16th 1850 included Revs C Prest, W Sanderson, G Lamb, N Hall, J Dodsworth, T Llewelyn, W Harland, Dr Beaumont and J Bywater. The building measured 45′ x 60′ and cost around £2,000.  As well as the main worship area, there was a downstairs schoolroom and various classrooms and vestries.

The 1856 Primitive Methodist magazine contains an extensive account by William Garner of the re-opening of Great Thornton Street Primitive Methodist Chapel after it was damaged by fire which broke out in the afternoon of Easter Sunday, March 23rd, 1856. The building and everything in it apart from some Sunday School library books was completely destroyed, leaving only the walls standing.

Next door was a vacant Anglican chapel seating 600 which was generously lent to the society at no charge whilst the Primitive chapel was re-built. They undertook extensive fundraising by collecting, tea meeting for 400 (“Mrs. Margison, the principal contractor’s wife, furnished a tray for more than 100 guests”), a bazaar and subscriptions; neighbouring circuits also contributed. “A worthy sea captain has contributed a thousand pence, on hearing that an illustrious lady had contributed a thousand pounds to the suffering proprietor of Covent Garden Theatre

The chapel was restored under W. Sissons, the architect and Mr Margison the contractor. Several improvements were incorporated including an enlarged gallery.

The chapel re-opened on Friday evening, September 26th, 1856. Addresses at the opening came from W Garner, Mr. and Mrs. Lonsdale, of Brigg. Brother E. Morton, of the Hull second circuit, Thomas Bennett, of Patrington, and W. Harland, of Hull.

With the money they raised and payment from the insurance, they were only £270  short.

In the first half of the Nineteenth century, there were both Primitive and Wesleyan Methodist chapels in Great Thornton Street.

Colin Dews describes the story of the Primitive Methodist chapel:

“In 1847 the Primitive Methodists took over a chapel in Nile Street, opened by the Independents in 1827 and used by them until 1842, then in Baptist use 1845-7.  The foundation stone of its successor in Great Thornton Street was laid by William Clowes on 1 May 1849, the architect being William Sissons. Destroyed by a fire in 1856, it was rebuilt with a new façade. Closed in 1937, it was demolished following bomb damage in 1941.”

Mr Dews points out that the Primitive chapel is sometimes confused with the Great Thornton Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel – for example by the Carnegie Heritage Centre website (see link below). Thornton Street Wesleyan opened in 1842, destroyed by fire in 1907, replaced by Thornton Hall in 1909, itself destroyed in the 1941 blitz. The whole area has since been completely re-developed.

On the Ordnance Survey maps, Great Thornton Street is shown to the east of its present location, roughly on the line of Icehouse Road. The chapel was located just south of the junction with St Luke’s Road, on the opposite side of Icehouse Road. The Wesleyan Methodist chapel was further south.


Carnegie Heritage Centre website accessed April 10th 2017 at

Primitive Methodist magazine December 1856 pp.746-748


Comments about this page

  • This was the spiritual birthplace of the evangelist Albert Shakesby, who having gone in to cause trouble at a meeting on the 9th January 1904, was compelled to return and was converted on January 13th at 9.25pm.
    See ‘From Street Arab to Evangelist’ life story of Albert Shakesby, published 1910, with many details of Hull Primitive Methodism.

    By David Leese (23/01/2022)
  • This page has been rewritten in the light of information provided by Colin Dews.  Thank you; improved accuracy is always welcome.

    By Christopher HILL (03/03/2018)

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