Methodist Free United Chapel, Bentley Street, Lockwood
- also known as: Bentley Street Wesleyan Reform Church
- location: corner of Bentley Street & Helen Street, Lockwood
- architect: John Henry Abbey
- status: still exists but now in different use
- category: church or chapel
Built in 1864 with "seats for 400". The chapel was partially rebuilt 1923/4 and eventually closed in 1991. The building in now the Hanfia Masjid & Educational Institute.
Historic England Listing
- Grade II
- first listed 29 September 1978
- listing entry number 1313760
BENTLEY STREET (East Side) Lockwood. Lockwood Methodist Church. 1864. Ashlar. Pitched slate roof. One storey. Bracketted and moulded cornice. Pediment with plaque inscribed "Lockwood Methodist Church 1864". Horizontally rusticated angle pilasters. 2 round-arched windows with Tuscan pilasters, moulded voussoirs and vermiculated keystones. Door with moulded imposts and voussoirs, vermiculated keystone and spandrels, Tuscan pilasters, full entablature and blocking course.
The History of Lockwood and North Crosland (1980) by Brian Clarke:
Before 1840 prayer meetings of Methodists were held in various houses in Lockwood, in particular, at the homes of a Mr. Wood and Mr. Lodge. Classes for women were held in the lodge house of Bentley & Shaw’s brewery and classes for prospective members were held at the home of Mr. T. Chapman at Highgate Cottage in Hanson Lane.
Following a meeting of 8th February 1848 a room was hired in Crosland’s mill (which stood behind Bridge Street and has been recently demolished). This room was fitted out as a chapel with 23 pews, five of which were free. Gas lighting was also installed and the church opened on Good Friday, 21st April, 1848.
It would seem that, although originally connected with the Wesleyan movement, this society soon became independent, for Wesleyan records show that of the 75 members in 1845, only two, Mr. Chapman and Betty Wood, remained in 1851. While Messrs. Wood and Lodge, mentioned above, were at the February 1848 meeting, Mr. Chapman was not, thereby indicating that the majority of members had already seceded from the Wesleyan movement. However, it was not until 21st March 1863 that the society joined the United Methodist Free Church.
The corner stone for the present church was laid on Good Friday, 1864, the ceremony being performed by Mr. Alfred Crowther, Chairman of the Local Board of Government and Owner of Broadfield Mills. On Good Friday, 14th April of the following year the Church was officially opened, the first service being conducted by the Rev. W. Griffiths, who preached to a congregation of over 300 people. The new church, the front of which is of white stone, quarried at Netherton, was designed in the Doric style by Mr. J.H. Abbey of Lockwood. Designed to seat 450 people, the building cost £1,100 and the furnishings of straight back box type pews, pulpit, etc., added a further £440, the total debt being cleared eleven years later in 1876. In the original design both the choir and organ were situated in the gallery above the entrance.
The Sunday School was founded in April 1848, using the same room in Crosland’s mill. When the present church was built the Sunday School used a curtained-off section of the building. By 1878 there were 312 children attending (134 boys and 168 girls), being taught by 38 teachers and a library of 350 books was available to the scholars. Due to shortage of space, use was also made of the Mechanics Institute for a while but in 1882 plans were laid for the building of a separate school to the rear of the church. The corner stone was laid on 16th August 1884 and the building, designed by Mr. Ben Stocks, had outer walls strong enough to take an extra storey at a later date (which of course never came to fruition). Having cost £2,100 the school was officially opened on Easter Saturday, 4th April 1885, by a service conducted by the Rev. R. Bruce.
The next major works came in 1898 when £220 was spent on the present choir seats and Rostrum, together with a replacement second-hand organ. Plans were laid in 1912 for what amounted to a complete rebuild, only the outer walls remaining untouched. The original estimates amounted to £1,500 but, owing to the First World War intervening and the consequent inflation the actual cost came to nearly £2,565. The work commenced in May 1923 and was not completed until 21st June 1924. The reconstruction consisted of a new roof, new floor, new windows, installation of electric lighting and new seating. Following this, the present organ, built by Conachers was purchased for £1,635 and was ‘opened’ on 3rd April 1926. All these works left the church £700 in debt and it was not until 1938 that it was cleared. The debt would have been much larger had not £800 been raised in 1914 by way of a large Bazaar, held in both the Sunday School building and in the Mechanics Institute, both buildings being joined for the occasion by a covered overhead gangway.
As economy has forced the closure of other Methodist churches in recent years, so Bentley Street has now become the ‘home’ of the former Taylor Hill, Mount Pleasant and Victoria Street churches. (Many Taylor Hill members transferred to Berry Brow Chapel).
- Huddersfield & District Family History Society — baptisms 1860-1991