Re: [Peterhead] Methodist Church
- In message <20000507084937.2742.qmail@...>, Ken May
For Betty Holmes,
Some info about the Methodist Church cribbed from their website.
1 Methodist Church 20th June 1866
1.1 In the beginning was 1864
The Methodist Church in Peterhead was established on 5th September 1864,
when congregation of the Methodist Society in Peterhead decided to open
a new church. On that date, a committee of 12 was appointed to act as
"The new Wesleyan Chapel Building Committee" and a building fund
established. Part of the fund was based upon a grant of £50 and a
10-year loan of £100 from the Wesleyan Chapel Committee, on the
understanding that the Chapel was to be erected free of all other debts.
The fund also was supported by a gift, from the Governors of the
Merchant Maiden Hospital of Edinburgh, of ground on Queen Street. A
condition of the gift was the new building should continue to be used as
a chapel, otherwise the annual amount for ground rent would fall to be
As a result of the considerable generosity of a large number of people
£1,008.10s.8d was collected, including £95 from the sale of the old
chapel, £100 from a Captain Martin, 1/- from an unknown Buckie
fisherwoman and a Peterhead widow's mite of 6d.
1.2 The budget of 1865
To reduce costs whilst still maintaining high standards, the Building
Committee decided to amend the original plans by substituting rough
granite corbels for freestone; by dispensing with the Minister's vestry
in school; by delaying the building of gallery stairs; to use best
Norway timber in the roof.
By 26th June 1865 the estimates totalled £908, which exceeded the
permitted figure by £8. The eight lay members present undertook to
make themselves responsible for £1 each.
In addition, gas lighting was installed for £21, the roof timbers, pews,
pulpit and doors were stained and varnished, and to treat likewise the
pews, pulpit, and doors, and for £12.10/- iron railings and gates were
provided for the front of the new chapel.
1.3 The foundation stone in 1865
Using an inscribed silver trowel Mr Andrew Boyd of the Merchant Maiden
Hospital laid the foundation stone on 16th August 1865. As part of the
ceremony, a box was laid into the foundation containing:
· "The Watchman" for August 3rd;
· "The Recorder" for August 11th;
· the "Peterhead Sentinel" and
· the "Buchan Observer" for the previous week;
· the "Wesleyan Methodist Magazine" for August;
· Bill of the Ceremony and Public Meeting;
· several coins of the realm; and
· visiting cards of the Rev. Messrs Drake, Parker, and Cleaver.
1.4 The grand opening 20th June 1866
Rev Harry N Holland of Glasgow, one of the most outstanding preachers
and lecturers in Methodism, preached at both services held on the
opening day of the new chapel on June 20th, 1866. He chose as his theme
addresses based on Galatians 6, vs. 14 and 15, "God forbid that I should
glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ".
1.5 What the papers said in 1866
1.5.1 The Buchan Observer
"The new Wesleyan Church in Queen Street is to be opened for public
worship next week. The building was commenced in July last, and is now
nearly completed. The site on which it is built has been generously
presented to the Methodists by the Governors of the Merchant Maiden
Hospital. Besides the ground occupied by the church there are 20 feet of
ground at the front and 20 feet behind, with 10 feet on each side. The
building is designed in the Gothic style of architecture. The side and
end walls are built of Peterhead granite, and the front elevation is
built of grey Cairngall granite with freestone dressings. On each side
are four windows, likewise dressed with freestone. In the front facing
Queen Street is a large entrance doorway. Between each side of the
doorway is a lofty three-light window. The roof, gable, and buttresses,
in front are surmounted by freestone pinnacles. All the windows are
glazed with fluted plate glass.
The internal dimensions of the church are 60 feet in length and 40 feet
in breadth. Adjoining the church at the back is a commodious schoolroom,
40 feet in length and 14 feet in breadth. There are sittings for 370
persons in the body of the building. The gallery - the sittings of which
will not be fitted up for the present - will accommodate about 70
people. The seats are made of American pine, stained and varnished, with
slightly sloping backs. The pulpit, made of the same wood, is surrounded
by a handsome communion rail, with cast-iron balustrade of an elegant
design. From the large and spacious lobby two noble doors open into the
body of the church.
A handsome cast-iron railing is now erected in front of the church, and,
externally and internally it is now one of the most handsome places of
worship in town. Internally the church has a neat and elegant appearance
- plain, yet tasteful and imposing. It is to be lighted from the roof by
means of convex reflecting lights' or what is known as patent silverised
bodies. These lights are two in number with eighteen burners on each.
The bodies are 20 inches in diameter, 24 inches high and were furnished
by Mr Francis Hay, Peterhead".
1.5.2 The Observer
"The new church occupies a very advantageous position in Queen Street.
Within the last few years many new houses have been built in that
quarter, and some new buildings are now in course of erection. The new
church is decidedly an ornament to the town, and especially to that part
in which it is situated. Its handsome front, its carved pinnacles, its
arched door and windows, its whole appearance add to the beauty of the
best street in Peterhead".
1.6 A bombshell in 1941
In August 1941, in the early hours of a Sunday calm, the Chapel and the
house next door were bombed. When the preacher arrived that he day, he
was greeted by a gaping hole in the church roof, smashed pulpit steps as
were most of the pews, the gallery was damaged extensively and most of
the stained glass windows broken. The Deep Sea Mission readily
provided temporary accommodation in Charlotte Street, and the schoolroom
was fitted out as hall and temporary chapel.
The total repair bill met by the War Damage Commission amounted to
£1,395.2s7d. At the same time, an opportunity for heating installation
was taken at a cost of £522.2s9d. Donations of £237.13s2d as well as
two grants of £50 each from Connexional funds funded this.
1.7 Things fell through the floor in 1996
By the time of the Chapel's 130th birthday in 1996, it was recognised
that the floor was in urgent need of repair as parts of it were falling
in! A Refurbishment Committee was formed and this proposed additional
improvements including a new heating system and seating, creation of an
inner foyer, a toilet and cloakroom, an audio room, a baptismal tank,
new lighting, a new organ, complete redecoration and new carpeting.
Compared to the original Chapel cost of £950, the new estimate was a
staggering £110,000. Nonetheless, by the end of 1997 members had raised
£47,000 and £30,000 was sourced from grants.
1.8 Rededication in 1996
After a period of three months, during which time the congregation
worshipped in the hall at the rear of the church, the Rev Christopher
Mabb, rededicated the refurbished sanctuary on 6th December. During the
rededication 123 people received communion using three trays, each
holding 44 glasses, made from the front panels of the old choir stalls
by John Bruce, the then Communion Steward.
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