Gateshead; Providence United Methodist Free chapel, Sheriff Hill

Sunday School children stand on the steps leading to the entrance doors of the chapel nd c1890 | Image from the collections of the Newcastle upon Tyne District Archives
Sunday School children stand on the steps leading to the entrance doors of the chapel nd c1890
Image from the collections of the Newcastle upon Tyne District Archives

Considering the relatively small size of the village of Sheriff Hill, it is somewhat surprising to find that all of the Methodist traditions have, at some point, been present in the village over the course of the last 250 years and there is still a Methodist Church carrying on the witness.

The Wesleyan Reform Association were never particularly strong in the Gateshead area however George Patterson, later a town Alderman, is recorded on the 1850 Newcastle Wesleyan Branch Circuit Plan as a visiting preacher from Sheriff Hill. An 1862 map of the area records a Wesleyan Reformers chapel at Sheriff HIll, approximately 500 yards north of where Evistones Road and Old Durham Road now meet.

The Providence UMFC chapel opened in 1865. Records are sparse but there is a Conveyance of land dated 10 December 1855 and a further Conveyance dated 31 December 1861, within Circuit records. George Patterson was the man responsible for its building and for many years afterwards, it was known as “Patterson’s Chapel”.

The lack of records make it difficult to track the history of the chapel though Circuit Quarterly Minutes make reference to the church being in difficulties in 1926 when meetings were taking place with the Trustees of the Zion MNC chapel to see if a union was possible. It wasn’t until 31 October 1942 that union of the two Societies eventually took place when the structural condition of the Providence chapel required an immediate move. The new Methodist Society was renamed Sheriff Hill Methodist Church and the Providence chapel was demolished.

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