Ibstock, Melbourne Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel(s), Leicestershire


In 1823 the Ibstock Wesleyan Methodists made application to the Chapel Committee for permission to build a chapel at a cost of £170. In 1851. This building provided 110 free and 35 0ther sittings. In later years the building was said to have been built in 1860 although by 1873 the capacity had only risen to 164. It is difficult to reconcile these statements at present but further research and a closer inspection of the fabric could yield some clues. Whether there had been a rebuild or merely and extension might be determined by a close inspection of the fabric. Whatever its date of construction this is probably the building with the round headed windows which can be seen on image 02 and whose gable ends appear in images 01 and 03. Their configuration corresponds exactly with the long narrow building with its side to the road depicted on an OS map of 1881. A map of 1904 shows a more square main building indicating that the large transept and the entry buildings shown in the foreground of image 02 were in place by then. The map also shows a rear projection which corresponds with the square-windowed build  seen to the left of image 01. In 1940 the accommodation consisted of a chapel measuring 42 feet by 36 feet and seating 270 plus a gallery 33 feet by 15 feet (probably at the back) and seating a further 50 persons.  All the seating was on forms. There was also a schoolroom measuring 30 feet by 18 feet. In 1970 the chapel seated 280 and the school 139. There were four other rooms. This is an unusual and complex building which would probably repay further investigation. It continues to be used as a Methodist place of worship


The National Archives,1851 ecclesiastical census TNA HO129.413.2.21 (Market Bosworth Union)

John Rylands Library University of Manchester, DDPD58 Applications to the Chapels Committee for permission to build, extend or sell Chapels, 1817 – 1830 No. 151

Wesleyan Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, Ashby de la Zouch Circuit 1891/618, 1901/637, 1911/602, 1931/599

John Rylands Library University of Manchester, DDPD1 Methodist Church Buildings: Statistical returns including seating accommodation as at July 1st 1940/477 (Ashby de la Zouch, St Johns Circuit)

Nottinghamshire Record Office Returns of Accommodation provided by Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, 1970 Nottingham and Derby District, 22/20 Coalville Circuit

Site visit 15.4.2023

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  • According to the Victoria County History website “Leicestershire History” this unusual and complex building was rebuilt in 1892 to the design of Arthur Wakerley (1862-1931) a prominent Leicester architect (as well as being Lord Mayor of Leicester and a Wesleyan local preacher). It would appear that it closed for worship during 2023. The estate agents handling the sale were confident that new uses could be found for the building, and that planning consent would not be an issue, but the eventual purchaser had other ideas. It is reported in Leicestershire Live 10 March 2024 that the whole complex is to be demolished, and the site grassed over.

    References https://leicestershirehistory.co.uk/?page_id=3861

    By Philip Thornborow (09/04/2024)

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