Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Haslingden's Disappearing Churches

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 prestigeous private dwelling. (Photo on top left is St. Johns before being converted, and the photo top right is the inside of what was the Wesley Church, Blackburn Road/Hud Hey junction.

Wesley Methodist Church which was on the corner with Blackburn Road and Hud Hey (see photos). 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... (Photo of Blackburn Road showing Wesley Church and photo on top right showing a close up frontage of Wesley Methodist Church)..

Another Grandeur building was the Salem Methodist Church, on Regent Street (see photo), 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), this Church was more or less where the Market stands today... (Photo on left is Salem Methodist and photo top right is Trinity Baptist)

In more recent times there has been the closure of the New Jerusalem Church on John 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.

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.

and then there was the King Street Methodist Church. 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.

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.

Primitive Methodist, Grane Road
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 Church 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. (Thanks to Kathleen Haworth for photo, and Jackie Ramsbottom and Snighole for factual information on the Grane Road Primitive Methodist Chapel....

Further down Grane Road there is the small Chapel which is almost opposite the Holden Hall Cemetry, this has been converted into a private dwelling. Then you are at Three Lane Ends where you meet up with the Old St. Stephens Church which thankfully has managed to retain a 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).

Into Grane proper, and a little before my time but there used to be Grane Methodist Chapel 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..

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 to right) 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".

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.

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)

Trinity Baptist (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