Following the news that Park Road Methodist Church is set to be demolished, Flashback has dug through the archives to find photos of its past as a tribute to the much-loved building and congregations.
With help from staff at Chorley Library and the Lancashire Archives, we’ve come across these old pictures of people who attended the church, which date back to 1908, and a document from the Chorley Circuit dated 1893.
Part of the Church Record, the Methodism in Chorley article reads: “A fire was lighted which, in spite of floods of hate and persecution, gradually overspread the land ... and sparks from the fire must have reached Chorley, but a considerable time elapsed ere a flame was kindled here.”
The writer, Rev Henry Bunting, added that a preacher called Mr Walkden visited the town and began to preach here, after which ‘a society was formed and a cottage rented in which services might be held.’
The Church Record, from Chorley Library’s archives, cost one penny at the time, and was part of the Wesleyan Methodist documents.
The photos of people who attended Park Road were supplied to the Lancashire Archives by historian Dorothy Fisher, who has collected images and journals relating to the methodist church for years.
She said: “The church has always been special to me and my family, and my great granddaughter was the seventh generation to be baptised there.”
The congregation moved out of the Park Road building in June last year, and joined those at Trinity Methodist Church to form the new Chorley Methodist Church.
The church council announced the churches would have to come together to keep congregation numbers up, and because it couldn’t afford the maintenance costs of Park Road.
Now, plans have been put forward to redevelop the Gillibrand Walks building, and the church council has submitted a planning application to have Park Road demolished and replaced with seven town houses.
They hope planning permission will make the building more marketable, and they intend the use the money from its sale to fund the new project at Chorley Methodist Church.