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Tabernacle Methodist Church - Inauguration of the Building Appeal Souvenir Brochure and Invitation"

Tabernacle Methodist Church, Padeswood Road, Buckley

July 1971

see 43.15 and 43.16 for the other pages of this document entered.


On Saturday, 8th May, 1971, at the Central Hall, Liverpool at 7.30 p.m., the William Morris Singers with the Merseyside Youth Orchestra perfomed "Elijah" in aid of the Tabernacle Buckley Building Fund. (source - the programme for the event).









JULY 1971





The superintendent Minister, Trustees and Members of the Building Finance and Appeals Committee cordially extend to you, your family and friends an invitation to attend the Inauguration Ceremony of the Building Fund Appeal to be held at the Sunday School, Buckley, on Saturday, the 24th July, 1971, at 3 p.m.

Your acceptance of this invitation is earnestly requested and a very cordial and sincere welcome awaits you.

A Buffet Tea will be served at the conclusion of the Inauguration Ceremony.

Edensor, Brunswick Road, Buckley







Dear Friend,

It is with mixed feelings that I write an introductory letter to this Brochure.

I am sorry that it had to be - that our Tabernacle Church, which has meant so much to so many people for so long, has had to be demolished. I know how hearts must have ached to see not only a Buckley landmark disappear, but also the building which had been the spiritual home for so many Buckley people.

I am glad, however, that we are now able to look forward with real hope, having realised that the Tabernacle is people and, because everyone has been so loyal and worked so hard, Tabernacle is still very much alive.

There is much to be done - we need a great deal of money - but, even more important, we need people. We need YOU - your interest, your help, your prayers as well as what ever gifts you are able to offer.

My wife and I are most grateful for all the help and loyalty we have received from the people of Tabernacle during what has been a most difficult time for all of us.

Together with you we look forward with faith and confidence to the future.

Yours sincerely, Tom T. Williams



P.4. AND 5.



The story of the Tabernacle is straightforward, no doubts exist as to where, when or under what circumstances it started, giving rise to a clear, concise and interesting narrative.

Tabernacle was the second Primitive Methodist Cause to be established in North Wales - Alltami being the first. The Primitive Methodist denomination was the last large group to break away from the original Wesleyan Methodist Church, an event which occurred in 1807 at 'Mow Cop', a windswept hillside in Staffordshire. The denomination grew rapidly arriving in Chester around 1821, and the missionary zeal of the times prompted the Chester Primitives to move to North Wales in 1836.

The first meeting - a camp meeting - was held at Bryn-y-Baal, and as a result two cottage meetings were started in the area, one at Bryn-y-Baal in a cottage occupied by a Kitty Howell, and the other in a thatched cottage in Alltami which I understand was known as 'Told Tailors'.

The cause grew rapidly and in 1838 the group built the old Alltami Chapel, which is now the Sunday School. After the opening they were not content to rest on their oars, but turned their sights to Buckley Mountain which had a large but scattered population - served by non-conformist and Anglican Churches, but a population in which immorality, drunkenness, promiscuity and violence were rife.

With the help of the friends from Chester who were connected with their own cause they started to mission to Buckley. Open air meetings were held on the site of a timber yard at Lane End, and these were followed by the new members holding Sunday Services in a cottage in the Smelt Yard.

It was not long before they realised the inadequacy of the arrangement and consequently they hired the parlour of the old 'Duke of York' Inn, which coincidentally was demolished in the same year as the Tabernacle Chapel. They continued to hold services at the 'Duke of York' until funds were raised for the erection of their own Chapel, this being on a plot of land in Mill Lane given to the cause in 1841.

This first Chapel soon required enlargement, which was carried out in 1863. Ten years later the cause was still expanding in numbers and influence, and the trustees and members felt they needed even larger premises. The site they selected was owned by a Manchester person who for some while was not prepared to sell, but eventually the Minister went to Manchester to plead the case. In this he was successful and the site was bought for £105-3-6d.

A Liverpool architect was consulted on the size and type of the new Chapel. He had been responsible for a chapel in Everton and the cause sent a deputation to view this, and as a result the design was accepted and copied.

On May 1st, 1875, The 'Chester Chronicle' carried a lengthy report describing the stone-laying ceremony in detail - the main stone being laid by a man who was a Scottish Presbyterian and a great friend of the then Superintendent Minister. After the stone-laying ceremony over 400 persons sat down to tea in the Mill Lane Chapel. The 'Chronicle' of September 16th 1876 contained a report on the opening ceremony.

Before building commenced a well was sunk on the site and a pump fitted, at a cost of only £7-8-7d, for supplying the contractors with water. The clay for making the bricks was taken from the site. These items are revealed in the Account book for the Chapel starting in the 1874, as are the following points of interest.

Pulpit - £28-10-0; Oil Lamps - £34-10-0; Stairs - £22-5-0; Altar Rails - £7-0-0; Heating Apparatus - £38-0-0; Painting of building - £77-16-10. It must be noted that at this time wages were low, workers in the brickworks, after a strike, having been forced back to work with a 10% reduction in wages - emphasised the wonderful achievement in erecting such a building as the late Tabernacle Church.

1892 saw the introduction of gas lighting in Buckley and the ladies of the Chapel paid for its installation in the Tabernacle Church.

The Tabernacle has always had a very strong musical tradition, and it is no wonder that in 1894 the old harmonium was replaced by a pipe organ, the event being presided over by the local M.P. and a recital was given by a local musician who was organist of an important London Church. The Town of Buckley owes a big debt to Tabernacle for the way in which it provided, over many years, performances of Messiah, Elijah and similar works, bringing in outstanding artistes.

For some years it had been apparent that what was now known as the Mill Lane Schoolroom was inadequate for the work of the Sunday School and aspects of life of the Church. During the first World War the idea of building a replacement grew, but it was not until August 19th 1936 that the foundation stones were laid, the building was completed and opened on March 17th, 1937. Since this date it has been of inestimable value to the Church, circuit and local organisations - providing accommodation for concerts, social gatherings and youth work.

There are many interesting items that could be told about the Tabernacle but they must wait another time and place. The demolition of the old Chapel has meant the end of an era. Let us hope that the new Chapel will bring in an era of Christian Endeavour - in worship and in service, as interesting as any in the past.






The Methodist cause in the different localities of Buckley has been strong from early days. Each Branch of Methodism was represented.

The New Connexionals at Pentrobin and Bistre - The Wesleyan Methodism in 1797. Pentrobin started in 1812 at the Little Zion. Records show that from the year 1820 Services were held in Newton's Barn, burnt down in 1823. The next Chapel built was in use for fifty years, membership increased and worship was conducted in a brickshed loaned to them at Ward's Brickworks. An appeal was launched for funds to build a new Chapel, which was built and opened in 1878.

New Connexionals also found favour at Lane End and first Services were held in 1841 in the house of a man who supported the cause and who in his will, dated 1862, willed the house to them. This meeting place became inadequate for the increased membership and in 1878 a new Chapel was built which became known as Bistre Chapel, a strong cause, in which music has played an important part in its life.

A minute recorded at a Quarterly Meeting of the Primitive Methodist Circuit in 1870 states that friends from Ewloe helped to establish a Church at Pentre [Drury Lane]. A room over a shop in Burntwood was their meeting place, later they moved to a larger room. The Society declined and in 1878 ceased to exist. It reappeared in 1881 at Drury Lane in a Chapel built by a Congregationalist. It was officially opened in 1882. It has been modernised and a new Sunday School added.

The Wesleyan Cause was started at the Square in 1823. Like many other Wesleyans the early beginning was in a cottage. The Society grew quickly and it became necessary to build a Chapel, this was 1834. In 1884 the stonelaying ceremony of the present Chapel was held, members themselves made bricks and in 1885 it was opened. The old chapel became the Sunday School, thus the growing demands were met.

The old Non-Conformist Cause in Buckley was at Brunswick. In 1785 a house became the first meeting place. The first Chapel in 1806 was known as the Buckley Mountain Chapel - later to be known as Mount Chapel. This was the site of the Brunswick Methodist Sunday School built in 1891.

The present Chapel, which it is sad to relate is no longer in use was built in 1867 and was the earliest of existing Methodist Chapels in Buckley.







The great difficulty facing any Architect when designing a Church is that he cannot know what a Church looks like. He knows what the Churches built by his fathers looks like but in an age which produces buildings out of concrete mixers and steel yards, together with more traditional beliefs and practices, whilst seeking new patterns of service and worship.

In essence the design of any Church must relate the Theology and practices of the people who will make it work, to the structural methods used, in a harmonious composition arousing interest and giving satisfaction.

At Buckley we have expressed these factors in a simple rectangular plan form, within which the fittings can be moved to accommodate various forms of worship as the people wish, covered with a steel framed 'umbrella' roof and enclosed within a simple honest building.

There is no conscious symbolism in the Church, we have tried to be honest both to Methodism and to the structure, and it is our experience that people will find their own symbolism within a simple honest building.

We shall all have succeeded if everyone using this Church is able to relate to it, and gain some understanding from it, of the search for truth which has prompted its erection.








Author: Tabernacle Methodist Church


Year = 1971

Month = July

Building = Religious

Extra = Architecture

Extra = 1970s

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