Gateshead; Wardley Colliery Methodist New Connexion

The Methodist New Connexion began meeting in the village of Wardley Colliery around 1871, using the drill shed attached to the colliery as a temporary chapel. Membership grew rapidly despite the nearby Primitive Methodist chapel growing significantly too and in 1879, Alfred Septimus Palmer, the owner of the colliery, allowed the use of 12 Second Street (then known as Double Row West) to be used as a chapel. This cottage was extended in 1880 to include a gallery.

In 1890, a tin chapel was erected and the Second Street premises reverted back to being a house. Early members of the chapel included Joseph Hopper – more usually associated with the Society at Windy Nook and in later years for his pioneering work with the Durham Aged Miners; Robert Brown and Robert Hogg Clayton. Clayton was born at Felling Shore in 1834 and for many years lived at Windy Nook before moving to Wardley Colliery where he worked. He left the colliery in 1877/78 having become a much-respected bone-setter and set up premises at Clayton House, Felling Gate. He passed away in January 1916 aged 81 and the chapel was renamed the Robert H Clayton Memorial church in respect of his 40 years association there.

The success of the Primitive Methodists in the village led to the closure of the chapel on 9 March 1918. The following year the premises were sold to the vicar of St. Mary’s Parish Church, Heworth for ¬£400 and the building became known as St. Aidan’s Mission. In later years, the building was converted into a garage storeroom and survived until eventual demolition in the 1980s.

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