Cockermouth, Lorton Street WM Chapel, Cumberland

Grid ref 123304

The land was acquired in 1915 but construction did not start until 1931. A full set of plans, sections and elevations deposited with the local authority show that he building was designed by Arthur Brocklehurst of Manchester. They show a chapel with its gable end facing the road with a full suit of rooms behind it and extending across the rear of the site. The chapel was to be entered through a central porch served by three doorways which led to a vestibule and thence through two sets of double doors to the chapel itself. There were three blocks of pews separated by two aisles. The rostrum was opposite the main entrance with transepts at each side with seating facing inwards. Behind the rostrum was curved seating for the choir and behind that an organ. The chapel was designed to seat 412, 160 in the nave, 136 in the aisles, 86 in the transepts, 30 in the choir. The transepts were designed to be extended later to provide 58 more sittings. Behind the chapel were minister’s and choir vestries, a toilet and a passage leading to a church parlour (18 feet 6 inches by 10 feet) with its own kitchenette, primary department room (26 feet by 20 feet) and school hall (57 feet by 32 feet) with a platform at one end. The heating chamber was under the parlour and there was provision for a future manse beyond the hall. The designs for the communion table and chairs show that the interior fittings were  to be gothic in style. The approved cost was £7,500. The foundation stone was laid on 4 June ant the chapel was scheduled for opening the following April. Brocklehurst’s perspective drawing of the whole building was reproduced in the stone laying brochure. In the event only the chapel and the rooms closest to it were built. In 1940 the chapel had 500 sittings in pews, and there was a schoolroom and two other rooms. The building scheme was completed in 1960 with the addition of a parlour, youth room, kitchen , toilets and a new entrance at a cost of £5200. The stone was laid by Mrs ML Barraclough on 7 May and the extension was opened by R Sands Crossfield on 27 October. In 1980 there were only 400 sittings in the chapel and only two other rooms. It was in use as a Methodist place of worship in 2014. (Cumbria Archive Service, Carlisle DFCM6/1/41, 118-124; Cumbria Archive Service, Whitehaven, SUDC289; Carlisle Library, 1A287, Methodist Property Statistics 1940, 1980, 1991; Griffin, EW, Watchers of a Beacon: The Story of the Keswick and Cockermouth Methodist Circuit).

WM Chapel, Lorton Street, Cockermouth,
G W Oxley

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