THE BRIEF HISTORY OF WESTBOROUGH METHODIST CHURCH

By the late 1850's Wesleyan Methodists in Scarborough were so numerous that there was a waiting list to 'rent a pew' in the Centenary Chapel in Queen Street. So, they felt it necessary to provide further accommodation for the 'congregations wishing to worship.

Henry Fowler, a ship owner and an ardent Wesleyan offered the Trustees an ideal bit of land, near the Railway Station in Falsgrave Walk (Westborough) and they bought it for 500. Within a week 1,900.00 had been subscribed towards an estimated cost of 5,500.00 for the new chapel.

A competition was launched to which architects were invited to submit plans for the new chapel which was to cost about 5,500.00 - the actual cost was 7,500! Thirty three architects entered the competition and eventually the plans submitted by William B Stewart were chosen.

Named Westborough Wesleyan Chapel, the new building had its foundation stone laid (probably at the building's north-east corner) on Friday 16th November 1860. As was customary at the time, a Mr George Ireland, a Trustee and Chapel Steward had deposited a large sealed bottle under the stone. It contained current coins and a variety of documents including a list of the principal subscribers, the Circuit Plan and the stations of the Conference.

 

Designed in the Italian style with a 76 feet frontage on to Falsgrave Walk and 100 feet depth it was build by local firms. Best quality Whitby stone was used for the front and two side walls and local red bricks for its curved rear wall. Internally, the chapel had white and gold decor. The heart of the chapel was the elaborate pulpit with two preaching levels, with steps up to a higher level. Painted white, it was affectionately known as 'the wedding cake'!

Finally on the 4th April 1862 the chapel was opened for worship by the Rev John Rattenbury, President of the Wesleyan Conference. It is strange to note that the chapel was not actually registered with the authorities for public worship until 5th July 1868, and a few days later, on 20th July it was registered for solemnisation of marriages. A new and splendid two manual organ with 20 stops, built by Mr Nicholson of Walsall was in place in the circular end of the gallery for the opening services.