[ Oldham Street Methodist Chapel, Manchester. ] Forms of application for permission to 'erect a chapel' and 'sell trust property', signed by the trustees, with Autograph Letter Signed from John Bedford and copies of letters from Edwin H. Tindall.

[ Oldham Street Methodist Chapel, Manchester; Edwin H. Tindall; John Bedford (1810-1879) of Charlton, President of the Methodist Conference, 1867]
Publication details: 
[ Oldham Street Methodist Chapel, Manchester, Lancashire. ] 1875 (letters) and 1879 (forms of application). Tindall's second letter from 18 Acomb Street, Manchester. Bedford's letter from 2 George Street, Carlisle.
SKU: 20088

See S. Taylor and J. Holder, 'Manchester's Northern Quarter' (English Heritage, 2008), which refers to 'the construction in 1781 of a Methodist Chapel, in a grand Georgian-Gothic style on Oldham Street, which replaced the earlier chapel on Birchin Lane'. This is said by Taylor and Holder to have been replaced, 1855-1856, by the Methodist Central Hall, which still stands. The dramatic changes being proposed in the present collection would appear to have been contemplated in the face of a new and large working class congregation. Five items, in good condition, with light signs of age and wear. The responses to the questions in the two forms of application provide a great deal of statistical information. ONE: Printed 'Form of Application to the Wesleyan Chapel Committee for Permission to sell Trust Property.' 30 June 1879. 3pp., foolscap 8vo. Completed in manuscript, and signed by four individuals: James Naner, Superintendent; and John Napier, John Cooper, John Berrie, Trustees. Witnessed by Thomas Llewellyn for the Chairman of the District and Giffard Dorey, District Chapel Secretary. The printed text poses 27 questions. Proposing the sale of 'the portion of the land next to Oldham Street and the chapel and shops and offices thereon', for three reasons: '1. The removal of population | 2. The needs of the Circuit which require that the property shall be utilized to secure an income which will enable it to continue its work | 3. The improbability of a congregation (in keeping with the Chapel) ever being again secured'. If the sale is completed, the 'surplus' is to be used for three purposes, the first being: 'To erect new Buildings on the remainder of the land sufficient for district and conference purposes and for Chapel Committee rooms including a room which can be used for preaching services the expense of such erections not to exceed one moiety of the proceeds of the sale of the land.' TWO: Printed 'Form of Application to the Wesleyan Chapel Committee for Permission to erect a Chapel'. 9 July 1879. Same format as Item One, and also completed in manuscript. Signed by Naner and seven trustees, and witnessed once again by Llewellyn and Dorey. Numerous questions under the headings: 'Necessity of the Case', 'Proposed Site', 'Dimensions, &c., of Proposed Chapel', 'Proposed Outlay', 'Ways and Means', 'Arrangements to prevent Final Debt', 'Estimated Annual Income', Estimated Annual Expenditure', 'Miscellaneous Inquiries' and 'Engagement'. The circumstances which 'render the proposed Chapel necessary' are said to be: 'The unsuitability of the existing buildings to the altered character of the society & congregation and the requirements of the circuit and the connexion'. The chapel is to accommodate 1200 'Hearers'. THREE: Autograph Letter Signed ('J. Bedford') from John Bedford of Charlton to Rev. E. H. Tindall. On letterhead of 2 George Street, Carlisle. 19 March 1875. 2pp., 12mo. For information on Bedford, see his entry in the Oxford DNB. Bedford has annotated the letter with its subject: 'Oldham St. | Prop[ose]d. Alter[ations]. | Employment of Architects'. 39 lines of text. Responding to the first of the two letters in Item Three below, he finds 'much weight in Mr. Hoyle's views about the place, especially if any thing has reached him to the same effect from others, - leading him to think that objections would be urged against our obtaining plans, &c, at this stage'. He urges the importance of submitting 'the outline plan you have so well drawn' with 'specifications & an estimate of outlay formed on their examination by a practical man'. He suggests it might be possible to 'communicate with the Trustees, by Letter to the Supert. Or Treasurer, or both', asking which course of action 'would be most agreeable to them'. FOUR: Carbon copies of two letters from 'Edwin H. Tindall' to Bedford. 18 and 24 March 1875. The first of the two (3pp., 12mo) drew as a response Item Two above. It begins: 'Mr. Hoyle called upon us yesterday in regard to the Employment of Architects to prepare plans at this stage of the project. He thinks the Oldham St Trustees might consider their freedom of action somewhat compromised by this step; and that the plans themselves might give persons the occasion for objecting to the detail of the scheme who would otherwise assent to its General principles. He feels the force of these objections so much that he has desired us to call together, on Tuesday next, those gentlemen who were present at the gathering at his house, in order that the matter may be considered.' He continues in the same vein, before concluding with a reference to 'the 3 architects in any future competition'.