Falmouth, Killigrew Street Wesleyan Methodist chapel

Falmouth, Wesley Chapel, Killigrew Street
The Building News v26. 1874 p480
Falmouth, Central Methodist

The building illustrated was the second Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Falmouth, replacing one that had served since 1791. That building had seated 1143, the new one was designed for 1230.

The trustees had held an architectural competion, and the design chosen was by James Hicks of Redruth (1846-1896), a Cornishmen who built a successful practice in the county. As well as a number of public buildings, designed at least four more other Methodist chapels.

The designs were published in The Building News on 1 May1874, and the foundation stone laid on 30 July 1874. The dedication service took place on 26 May 1876.

The chapel measured 83 feet wide, by 120 feet in length, with a height of 85 feet. The building had a basement containing a large entrance lobby, a schoolroom, four classrooms and a number of offices. The plan in the illustration is of the ground floor. An upper floor contained the galleries, with the organ and choir above the band room at the front of the worship space. The Building News noted that “Every seat will have clear uninterrupted views of rostrum, and the architect, speaking from experience, considers the building will be a success acoustically.”

Mr Hicks was required to attend to various matters over the next two decades, being commissioned for ‘extensive alterations and repairs’ in 1894.

In 1940 the chapel was considered to accommodate 1400, but like many ports along the south coast Falmouth was bombed on a number of occasions, and the chapel was hit at least two times. It stood derelict from 13 May 1941 until 14 March 1956, when it was re-opened following a redesign by Geoffrey B. Drewitt of Penzance. The accommodation had been reduced to 620, but the building was reported as being “as modern as the trustees could make it.”

The name changed to Falmouth Methodist Church on the closure of the other Falmouth chapels. Falling membership numbers, a lack of parking, combined with the cost of maintaining a large building led to closure, with the final service being held on 16 January 2022. The society continues to meet elsewhere in the town.

Following closure, the building was listed and for a very detailed description of the building, including the stain glass windows, please follow the link in the references below. A photograph of one of the memorial windows may be found elsewhere on this site


Returns of accommodation provided in Wesleyan Methodist chapels and preaching places. London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1873

Building News Vol 26, 1874, p474

Statistical returns … as at July 1st 1940. Manchester: Methodist Church, Department of Chapel Affairs, 1947

Statistical returns … as at July 1st 1970.

“Former Falmouth Central Methodist Church, Killigrew Street, Falmouth TR11 3PG” Historic England, accessed January 19, 2023, https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1481824?section=official-list-entry

“Falmouth Methodist Church holds final service before closure” Famouth Packet, January 16, 2022, https://www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/news/19851796.falmouth-methodist-church-holds-final-service-closure/



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