Hull: Primitive Methodism in Hull

Description by Rupert Harrison from the Handbook of the 101st Annual Primitive Methodist Conference held in Hull in 1920

Handbook cover for the 1920 Primitive Methodist Conference held in Hull
Englesea Brook Museum collection

The home of Mr Woolhouse was the birth place of Primitive Methodism in Hull.

January 15th 1819 marked the beginning of Mr Clowes life work.  On the evening of that day he preached in the old factory in North Street.  In his journals hr tells us that the first Conference was held May 6th 1829.  One hundred years afterwards the ninth Hull Conference assembles in the chapel dedicated to his memory.  The work and achievement of the century can never be told.

There are thirty eight places of worship in the seven circuits, sixteen of which are large and attractive structures.  From the Returns of 1918, their original cost, with improvements, was £112,677: present debt £21,936: value £114,427: thirteen of these are debtless.  An effort is being made to extinguish the debt – towards which more that £5,000 in cash and promises has been received.

The first chapel was opened on September 10th 1819 on Mill Street, afterwards known as West Street, only nine months after the memorable service in the old factory.  This and the one in Nile Street were the only chapels we had in 1847.  Not rich, except in faith and hope, our people built their houses of prayer believing they were needed and the results justified their work.  They incurred heavy financial responsibilities and made great sacrifices to meet them.

In 1849, Great Thornton Street chapel was erected.  What a worthy history it has had.  The saintly John Petty built Jubilee chapel in 1864 and in 1878 Dr Thomas Whittaker erected Ebenezer.  The Conference chapel was built in memory of Mr Clowes in 1851 by Rev John Bywater.  Its erection was owing to the liberality and initiative of Messrs W and H Hodge.  In 1872 Lincoln Street was erected, superceding the famous Church Street chapel with which the names of Samuel Hodge and Thomas Bell will always be associated.  In no place has finer work been done than in Fountain Road chapel, which was erected in 1877.  Holderness Road chapel was built in 1863.  Its history illustrates the power and progress of a true pentecostal church.  Bethesda ranks high among successful ventures of our people in Hull.  Hodgson Street Mission, the gift of Mr H Hodge, was built at a cost of £1,450. The fine chapel on Hessle Road was erected in 1881. The people are worthy of all praise in reducing the huge debt when it was opened of £6,300 to £2,200.  On Anlaby Road we have our largest church.  The land was bought by the late Mr and Mrs Norman, and Mr S Beecroft.  By the will of the former the debt of £3,400 was paid off twelve years ago.  The valuable property on St George’s Road was built by Dr. T Mitchell at a cost of £5,400: present debt in £500. Hawthorn Avenue was erected in 1905 at a cost of £4,875, including land.  It is free of debt and there is £2,000 for the new church.  In the sixth circuit there are Williamson Street and Hedon Road chapels.  The former was built in 1874 at a cost of £8,000, most of which was given by the late Mr H Hodge.  It is now debtless.  The George Lamb Memorial Church, Lambert Street, has provided a home for many of out people who have removed to this new locality.  On the East there is Portobello School chapel and land for the new church.  The present building is debtless.

Of our Sunday Schools great things could be said did space permit – 1825 witness their beginning.  There are now thirty five schools, 8,002 scholars and 875 teachers.  The thirty societies of Christian Endeavour are doing good work.  This year is a record for Missions and efforts ensure success for the Jubilee Fund.

May the Conference serve of eminent service to our Hull churches!

Rupert Harrison


Transcribed from the collection at Englesea Brook Museum of Primitive Methodism by Christopher Hill In March 2016


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