Chapel of the Month – September 2014

George Street Chapel

George Street Chapel

September’s Chapel of the Month is the charming but unlisted former joint Methodist-United Reformed Church chapel in George Street in the brewing town of Burton-upon-Trent.  Known originally as George Street Chapel it was built of brick in a Grecian style to a design by Thomas Simpson of Nottingham and was opened in 1860. Now dwarfed by the neighbouring Coors brewery it is no longer in use as a place of worship and was most recently used as a beauty salon.

An excellent summary of Nonconformity in Burton-upon-Trent can be found on the British History Online website.

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Chapel of the Month – October 2014

October’s Chapel of the Month is the picturesque North Lopham Wesleyan Chapel, Norfolk listed at Grade II. Dating from 1812, it is alleged to be one of the oldest Methodist Chapels existing within Norfolk.

North Lopham Wesleyan ChurchThe chapel has a brick front with side walls of flint pebble with brick dressings and a hipped pitched roof covering of dark glazed pantiles except for the front slope which is of slate. A broad principal elevation consists of three bays with two round-arched doorways and a flat brick string course between corner pilasters. Three segmental mid C19 sash windows exist to the first floor.

The interior has its original panelled three sided balcony on circular cast iron columns all with original seating intact. At ground floor late C19 benches and rostrum remain. A Wesleyan day school dating from 1864 exists to the rear of the chapel and a burial ground with headstones dating from early C19 and later to the front.

The chapel is currently at risk, recent news reaching the Society of its closure citing a lack of funds for ongoing repair and maintenance. It is understood that discussions have taken place regarding placing the chapel on the property market for development.

More news regarding its closure can be found on the Diss Express website.

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C20 Chapels Conference – Booking extended!

We have extended the booking period for the Chapels Society’s conference on C20 nonconformist chapels until 08 October 2014.

This excellent and stimulating conference – with a range of well known speakers including Elaine Harwood, Andy Foster and Andrew Saint – will take place in Birmingham on 08 November 2014.

For more details and a booking form visit the event page.

Book now in case you miss out!

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National Churches Trust launches Skype surgeries

The National Churches Trust (NCT) is offering free surgeries with support and advice for dealing with specific issues relating to the care of churches, chapels and meeting houses via Skype.  The sessions are aimed at people involved in general church care or dealing with repair or refurbishment projects.  Future discussions may also include ideas on how best to develop tourism initiatives to attract more visitors and ways to get the support of the wider local community.  To book a surgery visit

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New English Heritage Strategy for Working with Places of Worship published

English Heritage has published a new 5-year strategy designed to:

  • promote the value of places of worship
  • support the communities that look after them
  • support creative and viable ways of using places of worship to improve their sustainability

A copy of the strategy can be downloaded from the English Heritage website.

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Open Doors 2014: Find out about Chapels in Wales

Various talks and activities are taking place in and around chapels in Wales as part of the Open Doors festival this month. Find out more on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales blog.

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DONATE – a new website to increase giving

Launched in March 2013 by the National Funding Scheme (NFS) and now available across the UK, DONATE has been created to allow everyone to be part of our cultural diversity and heritage. DONATE makes it easy for people to give to the things they care about.

DONATE also reclaims the Gift Aid on donations from UK tax payers, which is then passed on to the institution, adding as much as 25 per cent to the value of any gift.

The NFS is a registered charity set up to support other cultural charities; it does this through the DONATE platform, which it provides FOR FREE to arts and heritage organisations. Because NFS is a charity, it doesn’t charge a joining or monthly management fee – unlike commercial platforms such as Just Giving. DONATE also takes a smaller percentage of the donation than commercial providers (no more than four per cent). In addition, DONATE provides lots of additional services such as case studies, statistical reports, technology updates and workshops – as well as offline support – to help organisations make the most of DONATE.

If you’re an arts or heritage charity, you can join the hundreds of organisations who’ve already chosen to adopt DONATE by registering on the DONATE website.

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Chapel of the Month – August 2014

George’s Meeting House on Exeter’s South Street was built as a Unitarian chapel in 1760, the year in which George III acceded to the throne. According to Allan Brockett, “it was named George’s Chapel in remembrance of the benefits that English Protestantism, and the Dissenters in particular, had gained from the Hannoverian Succession”.

The building is now a J D Wetherspoon’s pub but thankfully most of its interior has survived the conversion and a considerable amount of its character and charm remains.

You can read more about George’s Meeting House on the Exeter Memories website.

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New life for an old chapel – Zion Bristol

A former Methodist chapel in Bedminster Down, Bristol, has been transformed into a social hub with a café, art classes and children’s play mornings.

The chapel, now known as Zion Bristol, was closed six years ago when the declining congregation could no longer afford the upkeep. At risk of becoming derelict, the building was saved through a social enterprise project that has successfully preserved features such as the pulpit, benches and stained glass windows while providing a valuable resource in a deprived area.

Read the full story on the Triodos Bank website.

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My Methodist History

My Methodist History‘, the online community archive network set up by Methodist Heritage, is running a project to record all war memorials in Methodist churches.

Volunteers are being asked to photograph memorials and then upload details to the web.

Details about the project can be found on the My Methodist History website.


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