The Primitive Methodist Chapel

Old Picture of the church looking down North Street

The Primitive Methodists Chapel was built in 1874 on North Street. This was closed in 1966, when the remaining congregation joined with the Methodists of Bank Street.

Photo of Primitive Methodist Chapel Foundation Stone AD1884 now in the Methodist Church

The Foundation Stone from the Primitive Methodist Chapel is incorporated into the Bank Street Methodist Church premises.

A plaque marks the site, on the corner of Northgates and North Street where the Chapel once stood. The Primitive Methodists were established in 1811. The ‘Primitive’ meant “simple” or “relating to an original stage”; the Primitive Methodists saw themselves as practising a purer form of Christianity, closer to the earliest Methodists.

Picture of plaque marking the site of the Primitive Methodist Chapel 1874 - 1966

Primitive Methodists were characterised by the relatively plain design of their chapels and their low church worship, compared to the Wesleyan Methodist Church which they had split from. Gradually the differences between the Primitive Methodists and the Wesleyans became smaller, and the two denominations eventually merged together with the United Methodists to become the Methodist Church of Great Britain in 1932.

Photo of Primitive Methodist chapel just prior to demolition

Primitive Methodist Chapel, North Street, during demolition
Courtesy of Ian Leadley

Text taken from the Primitive Methodist Chapel 92nd & Last Anniversary Service ‘Hymnal’

Dear Friends,
Unfortunately most of our documents were destroyed, but we can trace the
history of the former Primitive Methodist Society in Wetherby back to the 1840’s.
In the year 1848 they were able to open their first Chapel in Wetherby
which still stands in Victoria Street near the Fire Station.
By 1868 the group had flourished so well that the Annual Sunday School
Anniversary had to be held in the local Town Hall.
The present building was opened and dedicated in 1874, you will agree this
was no easy task for the poorer Methodist Connexion.
Due to the war the double gates and the railings were removed, and in 1943
the gate-posts were lowered to correspond with the remaining walls. In this same
Mr. Danny Barnett became pianist, Miss Mabel Pool the Choir mistress, Mrs Webster the organist, Mr. J. Daniel the organ blower, and Mrs. I. Bewel the caretaker. The schoolroom was let to various societies :- The YMCA, Young Mothers Assoc., Naval Recreation Group, Oddfellows and Rechabites, Choral Society, and Orpheus Choir, most of which no longer exist in Wetherby.
In 1948 Mr. Danny Barnett was appointed organist, and Mr. H. Scaife the chapel
1959 saw the growth of the younger people in our church, with Mr. Peter Kinghorn
Elected Trust and society secretary, Miss Mary Oxtoby as poor steward, Mr. Alwyn Gray as chapel steward and Mr. Kinghorn as organist. It also brought the forming of a committee comprising of Miss Oxtoby, Mrs Lillie Gray, Mrs D. Johnson, and Mr. Kinghorn. Through the Grace of God and the efforts of this committee a new weeknight meeting was started, and Mr. George .F. Stead was invited and accepted to join us as its’ leader. Through his leadership and guidance it has grown considerably. Lastly the launching of a fund to fit the chapel with carpeting. This saw fruition and was dedicated in 1961 by the Rev. T. C. S. Welbourne.
Due to the tremendous gale force winds in 1962 many repairs had to be done
particularly to the roof which had been badly damaged.
The fellowship then undertook to re-decorate the Chapel, in colours of Blue,
Pink and Jonquil, which tone so well with the White, Blue and Gold-Leaf of the pulpit and balcony (the pulpit ad communion rails having been repainted with the help of Mrs. Brenda Bushby)
Many of our present members remember how they themselves helped to stain and varnish pews. They remember, also, the old coke which stood in a corner of Chapel, the gas lighting, and the harmonium near the communion table (before the organ was installed in the choir arch). How times have changed. Not many of the older style chapels can boast such a friendly gay and bright atmosphere, all held in holy reverence.
Two names that will not easily be forgotten by the North folk are Charlie Pool and Fred Kitchen, the latter having given over 50 years’ service to the Society.
To bring us to the present day we have Miss Edith Hunter, our faithful and competent treasurer for almost 21 years now. There’s Mrs Jane Lacey our caretaker for 7 years, and many more too numerous to mention.
We have found a wonderful fellowship here, some of our younger Members are now as far a field as Zambia and Australia. We have tried to help and bring happiness to other people in all walks of life, and this has brought its own reward to us. May I stress that we are NOT in any financial difficulty, but as this is to be our last Chapel anniversary, we endeavoured to produce a a “Hymnal” worthy of being preserved, and take this opportunity of thanking the many preachers, helpers, and friends who have been so willing to help us in our Christian work here.
May God Bless You All

Thank you to Michael Hare for providing this information

Additional information we received from a Facebook post is:

Michael Davison It or its attached hall was used as a temporary sorting office for the Christmas post c1967-8. When I was a university student, I did a stint around then as a temporary postman

Andy Holohan It was the home of Wetherby judo club, circa 1966

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