Crookes Wesleyan Chapel

Our beginnings

The first building in which Methodists in Crookes met for worship was built in 1836. It was known as the Crookes Wesleyan Chapel, and is still standing on School Road. After being used as a Roman Catholic Church, it has now been turned into flats. The Chapel had to be enlarged and re-developed several times as the work of the church grew. But it was still too small. Finally, in 1907 the foundation stones were laid for a completely new building, on a new site, that could accommodate up to 1000 people – Wesley Hall.

Wesley Hall Hippodrome

The Hippodrome

The new building was designed as an octagonal “Mission Hall”. As one reporter noted: “Wesley Hall looks more like the Hippodrome that a place of worship. And one is thankful for it … it is pre-eminently a place to worship in, to breathe and be glad in.”

The decision to build a new church was not just based on the need for more accommodation. It marked the beginning of a new phase in the church’s mission to the people of Crookes. Since the Wesleyan Chapel was first built in 1836, Crookes had been transformed from a village into a densely populated suburb. The vision for Wesley Hall was that it would be “a church where rich and poor, ignorant and cultured, would all be welcomed, and the Christian cause would be exalted.”

For the next 50 years, Wesley Hall played a major part in the life of Crookes. Beyond packed Sunday evening services, popular education through the Sunday School, Boys’ Brigade and Men’s Meetings, the church provided entertainment in the form of concerts and film shows on Saturday evenings.

Decline & Rebirth

Wesley Hall today

The 1960’s nearly saw the closure of Wesley Hall. It closure and merger with St Luke’s Methodist Church was seriously discussed. The 1970’s saw a continuation in the numerical decline of our congregation, reflecting changes in society. The main church building was leased out first as a stationary warehouse and then as an auction house, with the congregation meeting in the much smaller church hall. The 1980’s saw the closure of our sister church at St Luke’s together with the United Reformed Church on nearby on Springvale Road.

Throughout this sometimes traumatic period, however, God’s love remained. It is said that life demands movement and so does growth. When we stop moving on we start slipping back. For Christians there is always more growing to do.

Wesley Hall did not stand still. During the 1980’s the congregation grew both numerically and in re-affirmation of its mission to the people of Crookes. In 1989 the church decided to reclaim its premises and completely refit them to meet contemporary needs. Within three years the premises were re-opened with the distinctive first floor sanctuary, halls and meeting rooms we enjoy today, achieved at a cost of over 500,000.

Wesley Hall Today

The people of Wesley Hall are today blessed with a large building, in a very prominent location in Crookes which is well used by the local community. We believe part of our mission is to walk alongside users of the building and use this initial point of contact as the starting point of a journey into a Christ-centred community and on into discipleship.

We continue to maintain and enhance the Grade II Listed building we have inherited, to maximise its use for the people of Crookes and beyond. Over the last year we have completed a significant 300,000 renovation of the octagonal roof which is a prominent spectacle on the Crookes skyline.