Thurmaston, Melton Road, Emmanuel Wesleyan Chapel, Leicestershire Grid ref SK609094

Thurmaston WM Chapel, facade, 15.9.2018,
Thurmaston WM Chapel from the northeast , 15.9.2018,
Thurmaston WM Chapel, name strip, 15.9.2018,
Thurmaston WM Chapel, date plaque, 15.9.2018,
Thurmaston WM Chapel, rear view, 15.9.2018,

It is difficult to make sense of the history of this building. Both the ecclesiastical census of 1851 and the Wesleyan accommodation returns of 1931 give a construction date in the 1790s but the datestone in the apex of the front gable says 1886 and the most significant growth in seating provision, from around 150 to 250, occurred between 1873 and 1881. It seems likely therefore that a major reconstruction occurred between those dates, which may have incorporated the older building, and that further work was carried out in 1886, perhaps in response to the Primitives opening their new chapel nearby in 1884. There is no evidence of further building work. The appearance of the building would suggest that the accommodation consisted of a Sunday school room on the ground floor with chapel and its gallery above. This is consistent with a construction date before 1870 since this configuration had largely gone out of use by the 1880s. It also fits well with the description of the premises made in 1940. At that time there was a school hall measuring 40 feet by 24 feet, a chapel floor measuring 48 feet by 24 feet and seating 120 with a main gallery 15 feet by 24 feet and a choir gallery 10 feet by 24 feet together seating 130. There were also three smaller rooms. The fa├žade was built of brick with masonry dressings. It is largely in a plain but pleasing early English style. The contrasting lintels of the side door and the side windows of the upper floor suggest that they may have been later additions.
The chapel was closed during the post war period and the ground floor is now occupied by a kitchen and bedroom showroom and the upper level by a gym and boxing club.
Sources
The National Archives HO129/416/4/9/19 1851 ecclesiastical census
John Rylands Library University of Manchester, MAC Lawson Returns of Accommodation provided by Wesleyan Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, 1873/497, 1881/563, 1891/610, 1901/623, 1911/588
John Rylands Library University of Manchester DDPD1Wesleyan Accommodation returns, 1931/597
John Rylands Library University of Manchester DDPD1Methodist Accommodation returns, 1940/674
Site visit 15.9.2018

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