The Queen Street Primitive Methodist Chapel’s 150th Anniversary
In April 1867, the first stone was laid in the construction of an impressive new chapel for the Primitive Methodist movement on Queen Street in Barton-upon-Humber as the local movement needed to re- house their rapidly growing congregation in the area.
By the 1860s Primitive Methodism was already a well-established and well represented movement in the local area and a part of life in Barton. The local movement had grown from a handful of people to hundreds and had already outgrown two chapels in the area since the early 19th century – the first on the site of Central Surgery on King Street, and the second on Newport that was overcrowded and the congregation needed a larger place to call home.
The answer was a large new building towards the southern end of Queen Street with room for 600 worshippers. The chapel was designed by Hull architect Joseph Wright, after whom it is now named. He was a prodigious pupil of the well-recognised Cuthbert Brodrick, also from Hull, who was himself designer of Leeds Town Hall and other important buildings in the city as well as Scarborough’s landmark Grand Hotel.
Perhaps it is unsurprising then that Mr. Wright produced a building, at a cost of £1500, that was truly impressive for the Primitive Methodists. The building is imposing without too much pomp. Constructed in red brick with stone pillars, arched windows and patterned brick frontage adding to its attractiveness, it stands out even among the range of striking historic buildings around the Queen Street and High Street areas.
Beyond Barton, it stands as a reminder of the understated beauty of 19th century Methodist architecture, combined with a little of the more outright grandeur of Joseph Wright’s work.
One hundred and fifty years later the Grade II listed building, now known as the Joseph Wright Hall in recognition of its architect, is still impressive and continues to be source of much pride and enjoyment.
Nowadays it is in use as a performing arts and concert venue while still the temporary home of the Barton Corps of The Salvation Army until it moves into purpose-built premises on Tofts Road. Guests are treated not just to a great show on the stage, but also to a historically accurate recreation of much of the chapel’s interior.
So next time you’re there watching a story being played out on stage, think about how many stories the building itself could tell.