Thursday, 29 June 2017

St John's Wesleyan Chapel Crookes Sheffield

Whilst I was engrossed in religous matters concerning the erection of Wesleyan Chapels in Sheffield (see previous blogs) I came across references to St John's Wesleyan Chapel in Crookes. This is from the Leeds Mercury dated 23rd January 1890.

I had never heard of such a Chapel in Crookes but with a capacity of 800 it must have been a large building and prominent to boot - "one of the finest set of religious building's in Sheffield." 

A little research revealed that St John's Wesleyan Chapel in Crookes was no other than Crookes Valley Methodist Church which is situated in Crookesmoor


This report is from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 29th July 1890

The building and its adjacent premises served the people of Crookes and the surrounding district for over 100 years but it suffered a long and painful death. For many years it was derelict but it has now been converted to student flats and apartments.

The following summary was taken from the now defunct website of the Crookes Valley Methodist Church

"In 1878, a room on Commonside was taken for conducting mission services. This was an area with rapidly growing population, so a society was formed which quickly grew and in 1880 land was purchased on Crookesmoor Road.

A building was erected in 1881 and was initially called St John's Weleyan Methodist Church. By 1887 a new scheme was started to erect a larger chapel. In it's first ten years membership grew from 10 to 214, the Sunday School from 40 to 483, with the original 9 teachers increasing to 57.

In July 1889 the Wesleyan Conference met in Sheffield and laid a foundation stone of the new building which was opened in 1890. There were services at 10.30am and 6.30pm with the Sunday School starting at 9.30am and 2.15pm, and a prayer meeting at 7.00am and a mission service (open air in the summer) at 8.00pm. The building cost £7000 and was paid for out of 'selfless giving by rich and poor alike'. Within three weeks of the new church opening, weekly offerings were at £600 a week when £1 a week was a good wage for a working man.

There were weekly class meetings and mid-week services on Wednesdays and Fridays. Other weekly activities included Mothers Meeting, Ladies sewing meeting, Band of Hope, Boys Brigade, Healing Meetings, Penny Bank, Mutual Improvement Classes as well as band and choir practice.

Just as things were going from strength to strngth so things began to falter. Many of the rich leaders of the Church moved to new areas of the city. The membership was in such a decline in the 1930's closure became an issue. This was slaved off due to members moving from Oxford St after bombing in World War II.

In 1965 Western Street moved to share the building and it became Crookes Valley Methodist Church. In the last 10 years the church has suffered a loss of financial income from tenants moving out and nearly sold the building to the Nine O'clock Community. Then the church council believed the building should be used for God's purpose as it was originally planned 100 years before.

Faith, mighty faith the promise sees
And looks to that alone
Laughs at impossibilties
And cries 'It shall be done'

A prophetic poem for the church when it decided to take over the whole building"

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