Glascote United Methodist Free Church

8 Neville Street, Glascote, Tamworth B77 2BA

Following their separation from the Wesleyan Methodists in 1851, the Tamworth Wesleyan Reformers led by Thomas Watton, his brother Samuel and their cousin, Joseph Sadler vigorously missioned the villages around Tamworth. It is not known when they established a presence in Glascote in premises on the Main Road but it is recorded that, in 1856 a society comprising 32 member was meeting there. Initially, it did not flourish. By 1867 the membership of what was now the Glascote United Methodist Free Church had decreased to 21. However, by 1873 there had been an increase in the number of those attending services and scholars attending the Sunday School. A strong Temperance movement had also been established so it came as no surprise than the Trustees resolved that we have a new chapel.  It was agreed that the trustees purchase a plot of land comprising 494 square yards fronting to Neville Street from Mr Joseph Day for £51 10/-.

The purchase was completed on 7t April 1876 following which plans were drawn up and tenders sought from three firms including Watton and Sons whose figure of £407 was the lowest. It was then realised that additional land would be needed to provide a passage at each side of the building to allow sufficient light so further land comprising 77 square yards was acquired from Mr Day for £7 6/- on 3rd February 1877. Fund raising continued apace and a loan of £400 was obtained from a Mrs Emily Hanson with interest being 5% per annum to finance the building work.

Finally, the building seating 250 people was completed and it was arranged that the opening (of which the only record is the advertisement in the Tamworth Herald) would be on 24th June 1877.

The premises in Main Road continued to be used by the Sunday School. In 1879 it was decided to sell these and erect a new one at the rear of the chapel for the Sunday School. They were sold to Mr Clifford for a £100 and the general grocery and drapery store of Messrs Clifford & Sons was a familiar Glascote landmark for many years. The site is now occupied by the Cooperative Society. The new building cost £210 and was opened in 1881. In 1892 it was divided by a mezzanine floor into upper and lower schoolrooms increase capacity to 250 to cope with the increasing numbers attending the Sunday School. During the early part of the 20th century featuring prominently were the Bible Class, the Band of Hope and Mothers’ Meeting together with evangelical missions

In 1923 a new organ, pulpit and communion rail were acquired. The latter two were designed by a member, Mr T H Clifford, and given in memory of Mr Joseph Smith.

A stone’s throw away on Main Road stood the Primitive Methodist Chapel. Following union in 1932, the two sets of Methodists continued as separate entities for only a short period. During the latter part of the 1930s an approach was made by the Main Road Methodists to join with those in Neville Street whose Trustees passed a resolution giving a cordial and genuine invitation to Glascote Main Road (Primitive Methodist) church to join our church in fellowship and worship and to do all in our power to consummate the union of the two churches. In a special union meeting at Neville Street presided over by the Superintendent Minister, Rev Charles Whiteley, it was formally decided that Main Road and Neville Street should amalgamate and Main Road close. There was an amalgamation ceremony on 12th December 1939 performed by Rev F H Benson who stressed the need for support and expressed the hope that the two churches would become one happy family.

The first combined services at Neville Street were held on 17th December.

The new blood in the form of the Genders and Goodwin families was to stand the Neville Street Church in good stead well into the future.

In 1955 extensive works were carried out including a new kitchen, new toilet blocks and a boiler house. Again, in 2010, there were further works to ease access to the premises for the disabled and to various parts of the premises as well as improvement and replacement work

At the time of its centenary in 1977, Guides and Brownies met upon the premises and there was a Family and Parade Service with the Sunday School once a month. The Ladies Pleasant Hour alternated with Young Wives and fortnightly there was a Friendship Club for Senior Citizens. A Pre-school Playgroup met on 3 mornings a week.

Like the majority of churches Glascote has had to face the increased dominance of a secular and materialistic world and the decline in those attending eventually resulting in a small body of elderly members left to run the church. In Glascote’s case this worked extremely hard running various activities to attract people but eventually succumbed to the inevitable. In 2023 the decision was made to cease to meet and the final service took place in a full church on 19th September.

The final service was recorded and may be viewed at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw9xfkwsO3g&t=2324s&ab_channel=LichfieldMethodistChurch

 

Comments about this page

  • In the short term I’ve duplicated this page on both the Staffordshire and Warwickshire pages. Our policy is to include pages in the county they were part of at the time of Methodist Union in 1932, the end of Primitive Methodism as a separate connexion, which would place Glascote in Warwickshire. That’s where it will end up.

    By Christopher HILL (27/11/2023)
  • Might it possibly also be worth providing a link to this page within the Warwickshire section, as Glascote was in Warwickshire up until 1965.

    By Mark Hambly (26/11/2023)

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