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