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PRESCOT METHODIST CHURCH 1909-2009

 
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HISTORY OF PRESCOT METHODIST CHURCH

HISTORY OF PRESCOT METHODIST CHURCH

Enthusiastic Methodists from Liverpool helped to set up the first Society in a garret in a Tanyard in Kemble Street but this soon became too small for the meetings and they moved to a larger room behind an inn in Eccleston Street.

By the turn of the century, further expansion of the Society caused the friends to decide to build the first Prescot Wesleyan Chapel in 1805 in Houghton Street.  It was expensive and a financial burden for some years but Methodism grew so rapidly that another move had to be made.  The Church, Sunday School and graveyard were sold in 1839 to the Church of England to become a day school and yard/playground . In that year a new stone Church to seat 500 people was built in Eccleston Street (formerly called Long Street) at a cost of £1,700, a large sum in those days.  It remained the centre of Wesleyan Methodism in the town until superseded in 1909 and with its considerable extensions of 1878 continued as Sunday School and Youth centre until 1967.

The Sunday School had been formed in 1810 in the Church in Houghton Street and moved to Eccleston Street in 1839 but it was not until 1878 that the Trustees were able to erect a new building in Chapel Street attached to the Church which provided additional accommodation.

At the end of the 19th century the premises in Eccleston Street were judged too small for the growing Society and it was resolved to build a Chapel more worthy of Wesleyan Methodism.  It was decided to acquire for £275 an adjoining old Unitarian Chapel and graveyard in Atherton Street.

The Church leaders were conscious of the increasing population and prosperity of Prescot, thanks to the Lancashire Watch Company but mostly to the British Insulated Wire Company (known locally as the B.I.) and they wished to respond to the opportunity with a suitable building otherwise they said, "the Wesleyan Methodist Church cannot continue to hold its own in Prescot".

Fundraising was started immediately with such success that on 1st October, 1908, the foundation stone laying ceremony for the new Church in Atherton Street took place.

On 1st September 1959 an amalgamation took place with Victoria Place United Methodist Church.  Both sets of premises continued to be used but it was agreed the new Society needed better accommodation and in 1967 the new Methodist centre for Sunday School and Youth Work was opened.

Sadly membership and attendance began to decline and ambitious plans were proposed for the redevelopment of the sanctuary.  However, due to serious structural problems, these were put on hold.

Following the centenary service of the Chapel the congregation moved from the Chapel to worship in the refurbished hall.  Plans continued to be made for a more permanent worship area.