Coalville, Belvoir Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (ii), Leicestershire

01 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM chapel (ii) general viewg, 22.10.2022
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02 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM chapel (ii) facade, 22.10.2022
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03 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM chapel (ii) entrance, 22.10.2022
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04 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM chapel (ii) notice board, 22.10.2022
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05 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM school south side, 22.10.2022
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06 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM school east side, 22.10.2022
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07 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM school and chapel north side, 22.10.2022
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08 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM t school gable detail, 22.10.2022
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09 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM infant school south side, 22.10.2022
10 Coalville, Belvoir Street WM infant school east side, 22.10.2022
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Coalville, Belvoir Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel occupies a large site on the east side of Belvoir Road. It saw three main phases of building work.

The first of these was the erection in 1874 of a mixed and infants day school building (images 5-8). It stands behind the chapel. Several smaller structures have since been erected around the original school which seems to have consisted of two long buildings side by side. Image 6 probably gives the best impression of the building as a whole. They are built of red brick. The decoration confined to the gables (image 8). The round headed windows have projecting keystones and are linked by a string course in blue brick. Towards the top of the gables are ventilation holes enclosed by a ring of alternating bed and blue bricks with quarter bricks, two of them white extending beyond the outer rim. The cost was £800. Later the day school closed and thereafter the buildings were used for chapel purposes

The second phase was the building of the chapel in 1881-2. The proposed chapel was described in the report of the stone laying, It was to be a neat and commodious building designed by Price and Hodson of Loughborough in the Italian style and intended to seat 600 and to cost about £1475. The contractor was C. Wright of Leicester. The report of the opening said it was in the Corinthian style and only seated 450 which number could be increased by the insertion of galleries for which provision had been made. White’s Directory of 1877 explains how a mining community was enabled to finance such an impressive structure:

The proprietors of the neighbouring collieries have liberally contributed towards the erection and support of the church, chapels, and schools for the benefit of their numerous work people

The memorial stones were laid by John W Weston, Henry Spencer, John Franks, Francis Cox, Mrs M Goodacre, and Agnes Ellen Berrem. The chapel was certainly designed to impress but it is difficult to know what to make of the mixture of styles and decorative features (images 1-3).  In 1891 there was seating for 437 which rose to 455 ten years later. There was a then a jump to 600 in 1911, indicating that the planned gallery had now been put in place. By 1941 the total was 650, split between 400 on the floor of the chapel and 250 in the galleries. The chapel measured 42 feet by 40 feet and the gallery 390 feet (what can this mean?) All the seating was in pews. The school hall measured 506 (sic) feet by 382 (sic) feet and there were 13 vestries or classrooms. Subsequently the chapel was closed and the congregation moved to the chapel in Marlborough Square.

The third phase of building was the construction of an infants school in 1896 (images 9-10). An unusual feature of this building is that the memorial stones are placed fairly high on the wall. Some are very badly weathered but among the legible names are W T Sutton of Ashby, Miss A Morris of Coalville, Miss C Luger of Coalville, John Starkey of Wirksworth, There is also a row of bricks bearing names, of which these are a few. E & E Gresswell, B Holmes, J L Dunbabin, J M Gresley, HC, CE, E M, and PE Lager, F Holyoak, M A E Tillotson, F Stinton

Most of property is now occupied by the Melanie Reid Centre (MRC), a community action organisation, some of whose activities are detailed on their notice boards (images 04 and 10).  A section of the infants school is home to the local model railway enthusiasts.

Sources

Leicester Chronicle, 17.7.1881 and 11.2.1882 p,8

John Rylands Library University of Manchester, MAC Lawson Returns of Accommodation provided by Wesleyan Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, Ashby de la Zouche Circuit 1891/610 1901/638 627, 1911/,603, 1931/611

Whites Directory of Leicestershire 1877 p190,

Kellys Directory of Leicestershire 1888 p…, 1908 p 60, 1908 p 60, 1925 p 65

25 Inch, Leicestershire OS sheet XXIII 4, 1927-9

Methodist Accommodation returns, 1940 p110

Site visit 22.10.2022

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