Grantham, Christ Church Finkin Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Lincolnshire
Finkin Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1840 at a cost of £5000 to replace a small chapel which had occupied part of the site. In 1842 it was described as being “an elegant structure of the Tuscan order”. It then seated 1300 and had seven vestries and a schoolroom. The seating was split between 400 free and 800 other seats in 1851. When reporting this the minister Joseph Floyd made an interesting comment “In consequence of a division in the congregation within the last seven months the congregation has been greatly diminished”. A different take on the same events was expressed by the respondent for the Wesleyan Reform Chapel in Church Street (upload pending). In 1873 the chapel seated 938. In 1940 the chapel seated 950 in pews. There were three schoolrooms and four other rooms. The chapel continues to be used as a place of worship by Methodist and United Reformed congregations.
This is a remarkable building. It is impossible to take a picture which does justice to the façade owing to the narrowness of the street (image 2). It represents a transition from the pure classicism of earlier town chapels (eg Penrith Sandgate Head and Cockermouth, Market Place) to a design which became characteristic of most large Methodist chapels in the later nineteenth century. In particular we may note the twin towers at the corners which usually housed the stairs to the gallery and the beginnings of a projecting porch (image 4). The other buildings on the site are also of interest. The two brick buildings (images 6 & 8) to the rear of the chapel appear to have been built as cottages. The halls which are accessed through a range of twentieth century buildings (images 7 & 11) are marked on an OS map of 1885 as having been a Calvinist Chapel (images 10 & 12) and a Sunday school (image 9).
William White, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Lincolnshire, 1842 p 698
The National Archives,1851 ecclesiastical census HO129/427/3/10
Returns of Accommodation provided by Wesleyan Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, 1873, No 502
Methodist Church Buildings: Statistical returns including seating accommodation as at July 1st 1940, No 924
Site visit 25.11.2019