The first building on the Kingsley Park Terrace Wesleyan Methodist Chapel site was a dual purpose school-chapel built in 1886. In 1891 it seated 175.
The chapel proper was opened in September 1899.The architect was HH Dyer of Sheep Street in Northampton. The main contractor was W Heap of Northampton who had tendered £1320 for the work. The contractor for electric lighting was W Dickens of Kinswell Street and Messrs Slaymaker and Harlow of Wellingborough Road supplied the Bath stone dressings. The press report of the opening includes a good description of the building.
It (the chapel) is a handsome structure, and considered to be one of the most commodious and convenient buildings of its character in the district. It… is built of red brick relieved by Bath stone dressings, It consists of a nave and transept, the latter being 61 feet and the former 74 feet long, and about 49 feet wide in the narrowest part inclusive of side aisles on which is timbered arcading resting on metalled columns. The lower ones supporting the galleries and the upper ones the roof. The front entrance …. leads into vestibules in which stone staircases, giving access to the galleries, are placed, while swing doors open into the church. There are three entrances from the rear of the building, where another staircase is placed, chiefly for the accommodation of the choir and school children. The minister’s vestry is approached from Milton Street, and there is also a choir vestry. The building is designed to seat 900 people but it is estimated that there will be accommodation for a thousand. The interior is loftily and splendidly ventilated. The electric light has been installed…… . The rostrum is well placed for seeing and hearing from all points.
In 1940 the premises comprised a chapel, two school halls and fourteen other rooms.
Seating for 1000 was never more than an aspiration. From 1901 to 1940 the reported capacity was 900 (except for 1911 when it fell to 810). In 1940 the seating was in pews and this was probably the case from the start.
This site pinpoints a major shift in local Wesleyan architectural preferences. The school-chapel of 1886 in in the classical style which had long dominated Methodist building in this part of the country. By 1899 Gothic was becoming established as the style of choice and was used for the chapel.
The chapel was being used as a Methodist place of worship in May 2019
John Rylands Library University of Manchester, MAC Lawson Returns of Accommodation provided by Wesleyan Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, Northampton, Queens Road Circuit 1891/109, 1901/106
John Rylands Library University of Manchester, MAC Lawson Returns of Accommodation provided by Wesleyan Methodist Chapels and other Preaching Places, Northampton, Gold Street Circuit 1911/101, 1931/104
John Rylands Library University of Manchester, MAC Lawson, Methodist Church Buildings: Statistical returns including seating accommodation as at July 1st 1940 No 680
Northampton Mercury, 15 September 1899 per britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.