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Methodism in the Potteries 
Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme


Methodism and Longton

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Methodism and Longton

John Wesley visited the area now known as the City of Stoke-on-Trent a further 15 times between 1760 and 1790, preaching in Hanley Green (now Hanley), Lane End (now Longton) and Tunstall as well as Burslem. At first Progress was slow, but eventually strong churches were founded and built up amongst those Wesley called the "poor Potters." Indeed, towards the end of his life and ministry, genuine revival had come to the area.

'1786, April 28th - At Lane End, I was constrained to preach abroad. It was past seven, and piercing cold, but God warmed our hearts.'

'1787, March 29th - Preached at lane End, and in the evening at Burslem. Preachers and people provoking one another to love and to good works, in such a manner as was never seen before.'

On March 29, 1787, John Wesley, by then an old man of almost 84, visited Lane End, where he recorded in his Journal, ".....we entered into the country which seems to be all on fire

'1788, March 31st - Preached at lane End at six in the evening; the chapel not being able to contain one third of the congregation.'

'1790, Sunday, March 28th - I preached soon after one, in Mr. Myatt's yard at Lane End; the house would not contain a quarter of the people.

Longton Methodist Chapels in 1843

Wesleyan Methodist
         Stafford Street (now The Strand) - seats 500
         Chapel Street - seats 400

Methodist New Connexion
         Zion Chapel in Commerce Street - seats 800
         New Street Chapel (now Greendock Street) - seats 200

Primitive Methodist
         Victoria Place (now Garnham Place) - seats 300

"Of the various classes of Dissenters in Longton, that of the New Connexion, or Kilhamites, is in the ascendant, this being the centre of one of their circuits.
Whilst our work has been drawing to a close, the Kilhamites have erected a new chapel on the former site of Zion Chapel; and the Wesleyans one on a new site in Stafford-street. Both buildings are of large dimensions, and present ornamental and elegant fronts of brick and stone-work intermixed."

The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent John Ward

The following is an extract of the Government inspectors returns for Longton in 1841.

Out of the 9 places of worship the Methodists have 5 and of the 3101 children receiving Sunday School education over two thirds (2054) were at Methodist chapels.

number of places of religious worship in Longton

Places Church Wesleyan New Meth'ist Prim Meth'ist Indep'dent Roman Catholic Baptist Total
Longton and Lane End 2 2 2 1 1 1 0 9

number of scholars receiving instruction in Longton

Places Church Wesleyan New Meth'ist Prim Meth'ist Indep'dent Roman Catholic Baptist Total
Longton and Lane End 547 927 1066 61 200 300 0 3101


Wesleyan Methodist Chapels in Longton

LONGTON, CHAPEL STREET and STAFFORD STREET (now The Strand) A building was erected in Longton for Methodist worship in 1783.

Wesley first preached there in the following year in the open air, as the meeting-house was too small to hold the congregation.  In 1804 a new chapel was built in what became Chapel Street and was subsequently used both for worship and as a Sunday school.

As the congregation grew need arose for a new chapel; this was erected in 1842 on land in Stafford Street and in 1851 seated 500. Attendance on 30 March 1851 was returned as 250 in the morning and 400 in the evening.
In 1877 alterations, including ornamentation of the interior pillars, were made to the chapel.

Longton Central Mission
Longton Central Mission

In 1940 it seated 1,100 and is a brick building with Classical features. In 1933 it became Longton Central Mission. Shortly after the building of Stafford Street Chapel, Chapel Street Chapel was converted into Sunday-school buildings. By 1955 new schools had been built at the rear of Stafford Street Chapel and the old chapel was sold.

Longton Central Hall (c.1900-40)
Longton Central Hall (c.1900-40)
Photographed by William Blake.

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Staffordshire Past Track

LONGTON. HIGH STREET (now UTTOXETER ROAD) A second and smaller Wesleyan chapel was erected in High Street c. 1812.

In 1851 it seated 390 and had an attendance of 170 in the morning and 102 in the evening of 30 March of that year. Probably by 1853 this chapel had seceded from the Wesleyan Methodist Church and joined the Methodist (or Wesleyan) Reform Church.

LONGTON, EAST VALE A school-chapel was erected at East Vale in 1875. It was probably rebuilt at a later date, since in 1940 the buildings, standing in Kendrick Street, consisted of a chapel, which then seated 100, and a school-hall. The chapel was still in use in 1958.

LONGTON, HEATHCOTE ROAD By 1887 the need of a Wesleyan chapel in the thickly populated area known as the Nook was thought to be urgent as services had to be held in cottages in Weston Place.

The first part of the chapel in Heathcote Road was then built; (a second building was added later.  In 1940 the chapel seated 200. It was closed in 1957.

Methodist New Connexion Chapels in Longton

LONGTON, COMMERCE STREET By September 1797, shortly after the formation of the Methodist New Connexion, there was a society at Lane End. In 1799 a chapel there was registered by George Ridgway.

This was an inconvenient building and in 1803 another chapel, called Zion, was built in what is now Commerce Street. This chapel was enlarged in 1812 and in 1822 became head of a new circuit formed out of Hanley Circuit.  The chapel was again enlarged in 1822 and in 1841 entirely replaced by a new and larger chapel on the same site. It was said to be the strongest nonconformist chapel in Longton at this date.

This Zion Chapel seated 1,606 in 1851 and attendance on 30 March of that year was returned as 300 in the morning and 500 in the evening. There was also a Sunday school with an attendance of 300 in the morning and 252 in the afternoon. The chapel continued to be used until 1938,  when the society amalgamated with Bourne Chapel.  It has since been demolished. It was described in 1841 as a 'building of large dimensions . . . with an ornamental and elegant front of brick and stonework intermixed.'

Zion Chapel closed in 1938 and amalgamated with Borne Chapel.

Zion Methodist Chapel, Commerce Street, Longton
Zion Methodist Chapel, Commerce Street, Longton

photo: Potteries Museum and Art Gallery
Staffordshire Past Track

LONGTON, NEW STREET A Methodist New Connexion chapel was erected in 1827 in New Street. In 1851 it seated 300 and had an attendance of about 40. It was not used solely as a place of worship.  It was still in use c. 1865 but had closed by 1896. The chapel stood on the south side of  Greendock Street midway between Wellington Court and Boulton's Court.


Primitive Methodist Chapels in Longton

LONGTON, LIGHTWOOD ROAD A Primitive Methodist chapel in Victoria Place was in use by 1843.

By 1851 the society had moved to the former Independent Methodist chapel, Ebenezer, in the High Street. This chapel seated 264 in 1851 and attendance on 30 March of that year was returned as 200 in the afternoon and 250 in the evening. There was also a Sunday school by this date. This chapel continued in use until the opening of Sutherland Road Primitive Methodist Chapel c. 1863.

In 1901 the society again moved to a new chapel, called Bourne, in Lightwood (formerly Stone) Road. Bourne Chapel seated 600 in 1940 and in 1942 had 230 members.  It was still in use in 1958. On the closing of Zion Chapel, Commerce Street, in 1938 that society amalgamated with Bourne Chapel.

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 8 (1963)


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