Building Name

Wesleyan Chapel. Grimshaw Lane, Middleton Junction

1889 - 1891
Grimshaw Lane
Middleton Junction, Rochdale/ Oldham
GMCA, England
New build
Closed 1966
Jonathan Partington of Middleton Junction

The Wesleyan Methodists of Middleton Junction having decided to erect a new chapel, invited the principal architects in the neighbourhood to send in competitive designs. Seven sets of plans were submitted in response to the invitation, some of them being of more than ordinary merit. The committee, after mature consideration, decided to accept the plans under motto " Wesley," the successful author being Mr. A. Banks, architect, Oldham. . [Building News 7 June 1889 page 816]

THE NEW WESLEYAN CHAPEL, MIDDLETON JUNCTION: THE OPENING CEREMONY - On Tuesday afternoon the handsome building has been erected as a chapel by the Wesleyans of Middleton Junction was formally opened by Mrs J W Lees The day was bright and fine and a large crowd assembled or take part in the proceedings— numerous friends interested in cause coming from Middleton and Oldham.

The new building is a magnificent structure both within and without. It is erected on the old playground and seems to dwarf the old building close at hand which has previously served as a school and chapel. The front is of red brick faced with pretty stone dressings and stands back from the footpath from which it is separated by strip of soil in which shrubs have already been placed which enliven the aspect considerably. Two large outer doors open into a spacious vestibule and three sets of coloured lights in the wall dividing this from the body of the chapel brighten up the appearance. The interior is indeed beautiful. Perhaps the most striking feature is the rostrum, a noble piece of workmanship finished in pitch-pine The gallery encircles the building and affords accommodation for 240 whilst the body will seat 270. All the woodwork is done polished pitch pine. The windows are shaded and bordered with a rich red glass relieved at the corners with blue. The front of the gallery is panelled and a recess has been provided in the gallery (behind the pulpit) to form an organ chamber. In the front gable right facing the pulpit is a beautiful stained-glass window which has been erected in memoriam of the late Mrs Partington by her husband, Councillor Jonathan Partington. The subject represented is the “Ascension of Christ” and the artist has accomplished his work in masterly style. Underneath the picture is the text “And while they beheld Him He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Act i 9) whilst lower down are the words In memoriam of Hannah Partington born December 6th 1827 died October 8th 1890” The ceiling is covered and panelled the moulds being carried down in order to form ribs which are supported by plaster corbels. The heating and ventilating appliances are of the most modern type and promise to give great satisfaction in every respect.

The architect’s description of the structure is as follows: The church, which has commanding appearance, occupies a site having a frontage to Grimshaw-lane of 17 yards whilst the frontage to Potts-street is about 25 yards. The main entrance to church is in Grimshaw-lane by a spacious vestibule cut off from the body of the church by swinging doors The body of the church has seating accommodation for 270 worshippers and the gallery which extends over the vestibule 210 making a total of 510. The whole of the pews or bench ends are of pitch-pine provided with hat racks, book rests etc. The rostrum or pulpit is designed so to provide accommodation for a number of speakers at one and the same time this being of pitch-pine and wrought iron balusters and has massive and effective appearance. Behind the rostrum connected with the church is small ante-chapel 26 feet 6 in by 12 feet 6 in which will be used for week-night services or small meetings, access to which can be gained by means of a porch from the school yard or from either the church or the minister’s vestry. The minister’s vestry, 14 feet by 9 feet, is situated up to Potts-street but is in close proximity to the church and is provided with WC lavatory and safe-room The gallery is gained by staircases which are cut off from the vestibule and main entrance by swinging doors. The choir vestry has been placed in the gallery the stairs thereto having been placed conveniently between the minister’s vestry and ante-chapel. On the opposite side of the gallery is storeroom for the storage of books etc. The corners of these rooms been hollowed out which permits of the organ being seen from any portion of the church. The organ chamber is placed between the choir vestry and storeroom. Two rows of pews have been provided in gallery and seats have been run the whole length of the side walls to give greater accommodation which, being hinged, can be turned up against the walls when not required. The whole the inside woodwork is of pitch-pine and varnished. The ceiling is coved and panelled the mould being carried down the cove to form ribs which are supported by plaster caps or corbels the whole giving a very pleasing appearance. In the basement are heating chamber and coke cellar, the ceilings of which are fireproofed. Special attention been directed to the ventilation of the building, the insets being fixed in the window bottoms to admit fresh air while extract ventilators are fixed upon the roof to allow of escape of the vitiated air. The church which is designed in the classic style of architecture is faced with local bricks relieved with sandstone dressings, the roofs being slated with blue slates capped with Ruabon red ridge tiles. The church is warmed with an improved low-pressure hot water apparatus on the most approved principle. It is so arranged that the various parts of the building separately independent from the rest. The pipes are at a maximum temperature and the church comfortably warmed half hour after fire is put in the boiler. A memorial window has been erected the window to centre gable by Mr Jonathan Partington in memory of his late wife the subject of which is “Ascension of our Lord” which is treated in an artistic manner, great attention having paid by the artist to the figures and the expression of the features both in the Apostles and that of our Lord. The primary figures distinguishable in the foreground of Peter, James, and John. The whole of the work has been carried out by Mr Jonathan Partington builder of Middleton Junction; the heating apparatus by Mr W F Spencer, Crossbank Works, Oldham; the stained glass window lead lights by Mr Swaine Bourne of Birmingham and the sunlights by Messrs J Stott and Company, Vernon Works, Oldham;  the whole from designs under the superintendence Mr Alexander Banks 28 Clegg-street Oldham who was the successful architect in limited competition some time back.

The estimated coat in round numbers is £2500. [Middleton Guardian - Saturday 2 May 1891 page 6]

Reference    Building News 7 June 1889 page 816
Reference    Middleton Albion - Saturday 2 May 1891 page 4
Reference    Middleton Guardian - Saturday 2 May 1891 page 6