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Building record MDR13093 - Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, West Street, Swadlincote

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, West Street, Swadlincote, originally built in 1816, significantly altered in 1863. 'The Wesleyans have a small chapel in Swadlincote [written in 1857].' (1) 'The Wesleyans erected their first chapel in 1816, and enlarged it in 1823. It was further enlarged in 1837, and rebuilt in 1863, at a cost of £2,000. There is accommodation for 700 persons. Adjoining the chapel is a burial ground, now disused [1895].' (2) 'The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on West Street was opened in 1837, and has a later front with polygonal corners.' (3) The site has incorporated a chapel since as early as 1816, with remodelling in 1823 and an enlargement in 1837. These phases are commemorated on a slate datestone inside the rear porch of the building. This slate slab was placed in the middle of the West Street elevation but was removed in 1891-1894, during the refurbishment and placed in the back staircase. The present building dates largely from 1863, when it was rebuilt to accommodate 800 people. The Centenary Pamphlet of 1916 summarises the history. Stating it was “entirely taken down and rebuilt”. The 1863 building is evident on the 1883 OS map. The 1863 phase incorporates re-used elements from the earlier building on the site these include: cast-iron windows with gothic tracery, dating from the 1823 or 1837 phase, four cast-iron fixed lights at first floor level and one at ground floor level; a six-panelled door with flush bead mouldings is to be found at the base of the north stairs; sections of panelling in the rooms at ground floor level are re-used. There is, however, no evidence inside the building that the internal walls relate to an earlier floor plan. These are entirely consistent in detail and construction with the layout of 1863. The building was altered in 1891-94. This is recorded under re-opening services in 1894. The 1863 frontage incorporated paired entrance doors, adopting Wesley’s ideology of gender segregation in architecture. There are dividing lines within the box pews of the seating in the gallery, which probably dates from 1863; that below is not evident. The chapel was originally part of the Ashby-de-la-Zouche Wesleyan circuit. In 1872 West Street joined the new Woodville and Swadlincote circuit. After 1955 it was then part of South Derbyshire Methodist circuit. During the refurbishment the internal lobby was altered to create the present arrangement with the internal screen wall and its three stained glass windows, its decorative plastered ceiling, the twin opposing mahogany-style doors into the main space and the paired staircases to the gallery. There was at least one earlier staircase to the gallery off the side entrances and the original arrangement is still in place behind the eastern door. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: White, F & Co.. 1857. History, Gazetteer & Directory of the County of Derby. 350.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Bulmer, T and Co.. 1895. History, Topography and Directory of Derbyshire. 823.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: RCHME (Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England). 1986. An Inventory of Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting-houses in Central England - Derbyshire extract. 823.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Mel Morris Conservation. 2022. Wesleyan Chapel, West Street, Swadlincote: Level 2 Survey, Historic Building Recording.



Grid reference SK 29869 19618 (point)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR5254

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Record last edited

Sep 28 2023 3:58PM

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