Farnborough, Hampshire

Some notes on the Primitive Methodist Chapels of Farnborough

While doing some research for another purpose, I’ve been doing some digging around on the chapels of Farnborough. 

  • First, the one shown in the photo on the Farnborough chapel webpage, described as being on chapel lane.  Although the Farnborough Street chapel was registered in April 1852 (Worship Registration No. 63427)*, the 1940 Statistical Returns mention a brick-built chapel there (https://dnvg92zx1wnds.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/cms/l/London_4_districts.pdf – Circuit 116).  I have found this at the end of Chapel Street in Farnborough Street (which is an “area” rather than specifically a road), immediately south of Farnborough North station.  It is the building shown in the photo.  Google StreetView (June 2019) suggest it is a house.  The coordinates are 51.300456, -0.742368.  The Worship Registration certificate says it was registered in lieu of No. 51037, a certificate I haven’t inspected yet; but that number would have been issued in late 1927, which tallies with the mention in the 1940 Statistical Returns.  To further complicate matters, the 1932 OS map (https://maps.nls.uk/view/105982459) shows this chapel; but the 1915 map (https://maps.nls.uk/view/103314667) and 1896 map (https://maps.nls.uk/view/105982480) both show a “Meth. Chap. (Prim.)” on the same footprint.  There are three possibilities for No. 51037: it was a rebuild of a 19th-century chapel, which required re-registration; it was a recertification of an older chapel (recertifications of existing chapels, allocating them a new registration number, seemed to happen quite often according to my research); or it was a very belated registration of a chapel which had existed for a long time (also a surprisingly common occurrence!).

So that accounts for both of the buildings mentioned on the webpage.  But I have found three others in the area, two of which survive in other uses:

  • First, the 1897 OS map (https://maps.nls.uk/view/103314652) shows one on Fox Lane (now Chapel Lane) at Hawley.  Google StreetView suggests it has long since been converted into “Chapel Cottage”.  Exact coordinates are 51.315357, -0.765965.
  • According to the 1940 Statistical Return there was also a Primitive Methodist chapel on Peabody Road in the North Camp area at the south end of Farnborough.  The street was not built on the 1875 map; in 1897 the street was partly built up, and there was a Gospel hall at the south end (https://maps.nls.uk/view/105983305).  The PM chapel still did not appear in 1911 (https://maps.nls.uk/view/105983302), although the space for it on the west side of the road can be seen diagonally south of the school; it appeared on the 1931 map (https://maps.nls.uk/view/105983299).  It was registered in April 1915 (under the name “Primitive Methodist Church and School”; https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29122/page/3501).  This registration was cancelled in June 1980 (https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/48240/page/9436), but be careful with that date because there was a major revision of the Worship Register in mid-1980, in which large numbers of places of worship which had fallen out of use over the years were “purged” from the register.  So it may well have closed a lot earlier.  The site is 51.277996, -0.745671; the detached house on the site looks 1970s.
  • Finally, as another complication, Peabody Road replaced a chapel at nearby Lynchford Road, according to the London Gazette record.  This road has been redeveloped a lot, but a building shown on the 1911 map as “Church” (https://maps.nls.uk/view/105983302) still exists and architecturally could pass for a Methodist chapel: 183 Lynchford Road, in use as “Mayfair Homecare” according to May 2019 Google StreetView.  Coordinates of this building are 51.275390, -0.742357.  Apart from a Wesleyan chapel which is now North Camp Methodist Church, it is the only church or chapel shown on this road prior to the 1915 deregistration mentioned above.  It was registered in April 1896 (https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/26732/page/2398).

*I have photos of Worship Registration certificates 60001-80000 inclusive.  I am aiming to get the older ones in due course when the National Archives reopen.

The old Methodist chapel is the light building near the left edge.
Supplied by Alan Clifford
The old chapel (1866) at the end of chapel lane next to Smith's sign.
Supplied by Alan Clifford
The new chapel (1952).
Supplied by Alan Clifford
The Wondrous Cross - a picture drawn by Alan Clifford as a 11 year old child, which was displayed in the chapel for many years.
Alan Clifford

Comments about this page

  • Dear friends in Christ,

    Having recently rediscovered a long-lost painting, I share my testimony with you. Born in 1941, I was brought up in Farnborough, Hampshire. My earliest acquaintance with the Christian Faith came through Farnborough Street Methodist Church. Sadly, my father was an atheist, but my dear mother took me and my two sisters to the services. I will always thank God for the early grounding in the Christian Faith by faithful Sunday school teachers.

    Now I have rediscovered a painting I did of the Crucifixion at the age of 10 or 11. It first hung in the old Primitive Methodist chapel (1866), then in the new building (1952). Sadly, the church closed in 1986. However, the picture was retrieved by a former member and passed on to my late elder sister Sylvia (d. 2006). I had never set eyes on it for over 50 years! It was eventually placed in our attic with other items, then forgotten about. With Easter approaching, I thought of the painting. We searched with great difficulty and much frustration. After specific prayer and looking high and low, we eventually found it!

    Without doubting some reality in the faith of my childhood, the full impact of the painting’s significance came later. A period of teen-rebellion ended with my evangelical conversion through the local Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in May 1958. I was confirmed at the Old Parish Church in 1959. Sensing God’s call, I seriously contemplated entering the Anglican ministry.

    Since embracing the insights of the Puritans in 1962, a lot of water has passed under the bridge; but I thank God for the grounding of those early years. To cut a long story very short, I am now nearly 80, continuing to serve the Lord Jesus as the Pastor of Norwich Reformed Church. How much longer is all in the LORD’s will.

    Dr Alan C. Clifford

    I expound the painting’s message with a hymn written about twenty years ago (see beneath).

    Christ Crucified (Matt. 27; Gal. 3: 1)

    BEHOLD the immortal Lamb
    On Calvary’s altar slain,
    Behold the crown of shame,
    His agony of pain;
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    2 Behold the cruel words,
    The mockings and the scorn,
    More cutting than the nails,
    More piercing than the thorns;
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    3 Behold the awful sight,
    The Lord of glory marred,
    Perceive His broken heart,
    The sigh before He died;
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    4 Behold the outstretched arms,
    The victim’s head bowed low,
    For in this scene appears
    More glory than we know;
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    5 Behold, this sacrifice
    Was purposed by our God,
    For He prepared the cross,
    The life to be outpoured;
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    6 Behold, for from that place
    God’s love and justice shine,
    That glory might be His,
    That pardon might be mine;
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    7 Behold the life He gave,
    But finished are His pains;
    The Saviour lives to save,
    The Lord of glory reigns!
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    8 Behold His throne of grace,
    No longer need we fear;
    With joy we see His face,
    With confidence draw near;
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    9 Behold the immortal Lamb!
    His blood was shed for all!
    With wonder bless His name,
    With faith upon Him call!
    Let all adore! O may our souls
    Sing Jesu’s praise for evermore!

    Alan C. Clifford (1941 – )

    Christian Hymns (2004), 234 (vs. 1, 5-8);
    Tune: Rhosymedre (66 66 888)

    By ALAN CLIFFORD (30/03/2021)

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