Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Haslingden's Disappearing Churches

Starting off!  the first on the northern borough boundary was ST. JOHN'S - STONEFOLD 

(remember to click over photos to enlarge)

St. John's Stonefold
(1886 to 2001)

There are over a dozen Churches or Places of Worship which have closed down during the past 50 years (with most occurring during the 50s-80s period). Starting off with and close to our Towns Boundary at Rising Bridge, the quaint St. John's Anglican Church has more recently had to close its doors, and has now been converted to a private dwelling. (Photo above is St. Johns before being converted, and the photo below is the interior of what was the Wesley Church, Blackburn Road/Hud Hey junction.

Wesley Church, Blackburn Road (Hud Hey)
(built 1879, closed 1971, and demolished 1982)

Wesley Methodist Church which was on the corner with Blackburn Road and Hud Hey (see photos below). At one time I used to attend here every Sunday for Sunday School which was ran by Mr. John Gill (who actually lived next but one to the Church on Hud Hey) and also there was Mrs. Jenkinson who was also a Sunday School Teacher, they also had old tyme dancing at least once a month, also had a Youth Club on Fridays ran by Maurice and Michael Kay, they also ran Jumble Sales and also the League of Good Samaritans was based here...It closed in 1971 and was then used by a firm of textile printers called Sirdar Fabrics who ran their Industry from there. Eventually - in 1982 the church was demolished by Howard Stott demolition contractors, along with a several properties to each side of the Church... 

This photo shows the old Wesley Church on the right side just has you go down on Hud Hey Road, here there is a wall which in more recent times has been railings.

This shows a photo of how Wesley Church looked with houses to either side on the left hand side you had Blackburn Road, whilst on the right hand side you had Hud Hey. 

Another Grandeur building was the Salem Methodist Church, on Regent Street (see photo below), this was where the St. James C of E School is built now. I remember it closed down in the late 1950s... there was also a small Church Mission which held its services in the gable end property of Union Street, which has now been demolished, I cant remember the denomination of this small Mission.. Just a little further along the main road just past John Street opening and a small row of houses you then came to another splendid Church the Trinity Baptist Church (see photo below), this Church was more or less where the Market stands today... 

Salem Chapel, Regent Street/Salem St
(built 1862)

(above) Salem Church on Regent Street with Salem St running up the side

Salem interior
(Photo thanks to David Emison)

I am indebted to my friend Mr. David Emison  (ex pat now living in Yorkshire who has spent most of his life working for the Methodist ministry for sending in the following information)  

Both sides of my family were connected with Salem Chapel. The centenary of the chapel was celebrated in 1961 and in 1962 the members took the decision to close and along with King Street Methodist and Manchester Road Methodist form a new church in the Manchester Road buildings.  A centenary booklet was produced and I will try to summarise its story for the blog. The chapel was as you remember it with a circular gallery, large central pulpit and organ pipes spreading across the rear wall. There was a "lecture hall" beneath the chapel which is where you and I remember our days in "The Primary". Alice Nuttall, Edna Bastow, Dorothy Bevan, Eileen Green and Betsy Willan were our teachers.  Perhaps you remember how an area was screened off for us and we used to march in each week to the same music played by Betsy on the piano. Behind the chapel was the "Upper School Room" which had been the original chapel built in 1861.

Salem Methodist Chapel – Haslingden

(The following is taken from the booklet published in 1961 to celebrate the centenary of the church)

Methodism came to Haslingden as a result of the visits of John Wesley in 1747 and 1748.  In 1747 Wesley records in his journal “We left the mountains and came down into the fruitful valley of Rossendale.  Here I preached to a large congregation of wild men, but it pleased God to hold them in chains so that even when I had done none of them offered any rudeness but all went quietly away.”  In the following year Wesley recalls meeting  “...a mob savage as wild beasts who, undeterred by the authorities, proceded to every extremity of persecution short of murder”.

Despite this rather unpromising beginning  the message of the Methodist preachers found a ready hearing amongst the growing populations of industrial towns such as Haslingden.   Regular Methodist Class Meetings were held in the cottage of Mr Daniel Gregory of Gregory Fold in 1780 and in 1787 steps were taken to build a Methodist Chapel on Bury road (on the site later occupied by the Grammar School).  The land was given by Mr John Holden of Caldwells who was impressed by the work that was being done and himself became a Methodist in 1791.  John Holden died in 1794. In his will he bequeathed the land to the Methodist Society but this was successfully contested by his brother and the Methodists were forced to leave their building.   A new chapel was built in King Street and opened in 1798.

The early years of the Methodist movement were years of rapid growth accompanied by disagreement and schism.  The Methodist Societies had a deep commitment to education, self-improvement and social justice.   Within the societies people found a new self-confidence and skills in leadership which they exercised in their communities and work places as well as in their chapels.  Many of the early disagreements were about how the societies should be organised and how responsibilities should be exercised within them.  In particular what the respective role of ordained and lay leaders should be. The parent body was the Wesleyan Methodist Church but other Methodist movements included the Primitive Methodists, The Methodist New Connexion and the United Methodist Free Church.

Around 1860 a small group of mainly working people separated from the Primitive Methodist Society then meeting in a chapel in Higher Deardengate and formed a Methodist society aligned to the United Methodist Free Church.   A cottage was taken in George Street for week-night meetings and the decision was taken to erect a building that would serve both as chapel and Sunday school.  A site was purchased in Regent Street and the foundation stone was laid on the 31st August 1861 by Mrs John Whittaker of Waterfoot House, Grane Road.
1861 proved to be a momentous year for the people of Lancashire because it marked the beginning of the American Civil War and the boycott of cotton from the Confederate States. The hardship caused by the boycott became known as the “Cotton Famine” and led to great distress particularly amongst people such as those who had embarked upon the building of Salem Chapel.  It is recorded that to save time and costs young women of the new society after work in the evenings carried stones to the site in their “brats” (aprons).  The cost of the building was £800.00.

The chapel, later to become the Sunday school building, was opened on the 28th November 1861. 
The work prospered and the membership of the church grew rapidly.  In 1881 a new chapel was built with an imposing classical frontage on Regent Street and linked at the rear to the original building. The cost of the new building was £4,200.00 and it opened for worship in 1882. The street to the side of the chapel was named “Salem Street”
In 1922 a new pipe organ was installed as a memorial to the eight men of the chapel who had been killed during the 1914-18 war.  The organ covered the north wall of the chapel.

Over the years Salem Chapel was a centre not just of Christian worship and teaching but all aspects of human well-being. It had an active Sunday School throughout its history (300 children and young people in 1921) For many years it sponsored self-help and self-improvement societies, choirs, an orchestra, a dramatic society (The Salem Players), sports clubs, youth clubs, cricket and Badminton teams.   Such levels of activity were not, of course, exclusive to Salem but typical of all the churches and chapels in Haslingden.  
In 1932 all the main branches of Methodism reunited to form The Methodist Church.  Following the celebration of its centenary in 1961 the members of Salem took the momentous decision to amalgamate with King Street and Manchester Road Methodist Churches to form a new church on the Manchester Road site.  The amalgamation took place in 1962. 

The site of Salem chapel was purchased for the building of a new St James’ Primary School and the buildings were demolished shortly afterwards.

Mission on Union Street cornering with Blackburn Road

This shows the area were the old Mission was
just below the tarmac path and flagging area
Photo: thanks David and Irene Belshaw

The houses in Union Street originally ran right down to the Blackburn Road and there was no footpath at that time.  The doorway to the Mission was set within the gable end of the bottom house in Union Street on Blackburn Road itself.

Once inside the doorway, you had to go down steps to the Mission, so it was actually in the cellar of the bottom house.  When the house was demolished, it was replaced with a footpath and the grassed area which you see today. The Mission would have been under this grassed area. (thanks to David and Irene for this information)

Cave Adullam Baptist Church,
Chapel Street

Cave Adullam Baptist Church - Chapel Street

Cave Adullam Baptist Church - Interior - Chapel Street

Cave Adullam Baptist Church - Full elevation
photo thanks to Dave Belshaw

Cave Adullam Church as it was 2019 (derelict)
by Scott Sadler

Haslingden Gospel Church,
Bury Road/corner of Piccadilly St.
(recent 1970s - 1990s)

Haslingden Gospel Church which was purpose built, not sure but maybe around the 1970s, change hands several times from about the 1990s and more latterly used for industry.

Trinity Baptist Church, Blackburn Road
(built 1873)

(Above) Trinity Baptist Church, Blackburn Road

A group of parishioners outside the Trinity Baptist
Photographer unknown

An old Trinity Baptist advert from 1887

New Jerusalem Church, John St/Union St
(built 1890)

In more recent times there has been the closure of the New Jerusalem Church which was on John Street and Union Street, this closed down in the 90s and is now a fitness centre...I remember having to carry out slating and ridge tile repairs on the roof of this Church and it was a nightmare because of the sheer pitch of the roof.

(Above) New Jerusalem Church on John Street, with side entrance on Union Street.
It is now a fitness centre.

This is a very old altar table dated mid 1800s and was taken out of
New Jerusalem Church.

Independent Methodist Chapel on Beaconsfield Street
(built 1881)

There have been other Church casualties within the town centre including the Independant Methodist Chapel on Beaconsfield Street. This Chapel was closed down for many years and more recently it has received a new lease of life, having been turned into a Mosque.

(above) Independant Methodist Church on Beaconsfield Street, now got a new lease of life having been turned into a mosque

King Street Methodist Chapel, King St.
(built 1798)

and then there was the King Street Methodist Chapel. I can remember this from years back when it had been closed for some time and was later used as a theatrical prop business for many years up until the demolition for the re-development of the area. Today all there is near to where the old Church stood is a small square which contains several gravestones.


Site of the original King Street Methodist Chapel 

(Above) these three photos show King Street Methodist Chapel and its schoolroom and the interior showing the organ and the pulpit
Top photo: photographer unknown middle photo: thanks to Michael Mullaney and the next photo: photographer unknown. And the last photo shows just the area were the Chapel used to be with some of the gravestones.

Gospel Mission, George Street
(built 1896)

Gospel Mission photos above
Photographers: unknown

(above photos) There was also Gospel Mission on George Street, which was next door the the "Land League" or IDL Club. This was a very small Church, which again had to close its doors (I think it was in the mid eighties) and it was left empty for years, but eventually it caught fire and had to be demolished. There are still some Masonry relics eg: The name stone etc which are still there at the original site.

Moving on, the Congregationalist have also been casualties in Church closure. First of all there was their main Church at the top of Grane Road which stood almost behind the Bay Horse Pub and the Garage, this was a grand old Church built around 1855. For many years this Church ended up being a Motor Parts Storeroom until it was later demolished in the 1980/90s... From what I am told, the congregation moved into their Schoolroom on Lower Deardengate and this was converted into a Church where services continued to be given, then sadly this Church also had to close down in the late 80s/90s. There is a lot of history to this Church Site originally known as "Goose Green". I remember in the late 1950s/60s our Scripture teacher at Haslingden Modern School was nicknamed "Jasper Stirling" and he was the then vicar at this Church.

Congregational Church, Lr Deardengate
(Original built 1787, the new chapel built 1854, new school room built 1875)

Congregational Church, Goose Green, 1787
Photographer: unknown

Congregational Church on Lr Deardengate, before closure
(photographer unknown)

Inside the Congregational on Lower Deardengate
Photographer: unknown

Inside the Congregational on Lower Deardengate
Photographer: unknown

This is showing the Church from a Grane Road elevation
(Photographer unknown)

Congregational Memorial Card
(thanks to Jackie)

(above) not sure of the history of the above Church but believe it may have had something to do with the Congregational, it was later used for motor parts distribution and was then accessed from behind the garage which is at the side of the Bay Horse.

Grane Rd Primitive Methodist Chapel
(built 1879)

On the right hand side going down Grane Road just after the shop (Old Gas Showrooms) and the small row of houses there was Grane Road Primitive Methodist Chapel. This mighty Chapel is no longer there. It was originally opened on 5th Jan 1880 by the then President of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. Jenkinson. It was built at a cost of £5,600. It Closed in 1956 but only demolished in the early 1970s. Most of its member congregation transferred over to the Manchester Road Methodist Church. 

(above) was the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Grane Road
Photo: thanks to Chris Kirby

Grane Mission
(built 1911)

Grane Mission on Grane Road (opposite cemetary) 

Further down Grane Road there is the small Chapel which is almost opposite the Holden Hall Cemetry and this was called the Grane Mission, this has been converted into a private dwelling.

St. Stephens Church, Crowtrees and then later at "three lane ends"
(built 1867, then moved 1925, closed 1988)

Then you are at Three Lane Ends where you meet up with the Old St. Stephens Church which thankfully has managed to retain some of its main features including its beautiful stain glass windows, although today its no longer a place of worship, but a building where antiques and collectables are sold (Holden Wood Antiques).

(above) is St. Stephens, in situ when it was originally at Crowtrees, Grane 1867

(above) is St. Stephens, Grane which is now the Holden Antiques Centre

A nice little bit of history regarding St. Stephens

How the interior of St. Stephens, Grane looked when it was a Church

This is showing the site of the original St. Stephens at Crowtrees

Wesleyan Chapel, Grane
(built 1815)

Into Grane proper, and a little before my time but there used to be Grane Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (photo below) which was situated on the small lane where you go down to the Calf Hey Car Park. The Chapel area does have a old marker stone and there is the old burial ground next to it..

Wesleyan Chapel, Grane - July 1906

Wesleyan Chapel Grane - Pulpit

Wesleyan Chapel, Grane and shows Tom Foulds on left side, he had a grocers business up in Haslingden

Sion Methodist, Holcombe Road

The next victim of closure was further along Holcombe Road, and I can certainly remember this Church it was a very majestic building, and called the Sion Methodist Church (see photo below) which was at the side of where the Old Co-op Buildings are today and where the general grocers store is just higher up than the "Grandstand".

(Above) Sion Methodist Church on Holcombe Road next to the shops

this is a photo of the early Sion Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1839

Helmshore Primitive Methodist Whitsuntide Procession

St. Veronica's Catholic Church,

This building is what used to be St. Veronica's Catholic Church, on Helmshore Road, Helmshore. The building is now demolished.

Prior to being a Church the building was the home of Colonel Tom Baxter - local Mayor and owner of the Baxter Brewery family.

Next door to this building was the St. Veronica's Hall Function room. That building is still there and is used now for private functions, but all the Church services are now held up at St. Mary's on Bury Road.

There have been other Churches and places of Worship that have closed over the years and here below is a few of the more Ancient eg: St. Andrews Hindle Street Mission, this later was taken over by St. James and it became the Church Lad's Brigade Drillhall before much later being demolished for the Central Development (see photo). Also there was: St Pauls Free Church of England/Townsend Street Mission (see photo). Also there was the Wesleyan Methodist Church on Holcombe Road (See photo on right). And a very old photo of the Sion Primitive Methodist (bottom left) on Holcombe Road built in 1839 and demolished in 1895.

St. Andrews Hindle St Mission
(later the C.L.B. Drill Hall)

(Above) St Andrews Hindle Street Mission, before it became the Church Lads Brigade Drill Hall

(above) is showing the interior of St. Andrews Hindle Street Mission

St. Pauls Free Church of England
and later Townsend St Mission

St. Pauls Free Church of England, Townsend Street, which later became the Townsend Street Mission in 1925, then re-opened as the Labour Hall in April 1930, then much later was George Hoyle's transport, later still Ken Mellings garage, later still Pete Merrimens garage. 

Wesleyan Chapel and School, Holcombe Road.

This was the Wesleyan Chapel and School in Helmshore and was situated just before you come up to the old Wavell Mill (or Airtours offices) from a Bury direction.


We still have the following Churches open which are all within the old Haslingden Borough:

Ebenezer Baptist Church
Irwell Vale Church
Manchester Road Methodist Church
St. James C of E.
St. Mary's Catholic Church
St. Peters Church
St. Thomas Church, Musbury


PHOTOS from New Jerusalem Church

New Jerusalem Sunday School 1920's   (Click over to enlarge)

New Jerusalem Church, Union Street in the 1920s  (Click over to enlarge)

New Jerusalem Walking Day (Click over to enlarge)
Names offered: Evelyn Haworth, Mrs Cockerill, Evelyn Hayworth, Mrs Cowpe, Mrs. Woodhouse, Eunice Cockerill
Thanks to Dot Birtwistle for providing most of the names and also to Peter Fisher for kindly sharing the photo with us.

PHOTOS from Trinity Baptist Church

Trinity Baptist Play - 1913  (Click over to enlarge)

Both the above photos are of Trinity Baptist Walking Days (Click over to enlarge)
Both photos kindly shared to us by Keith Gunton on 2nd March 2017