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Wollescote chapel stands proud

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: December 10, 2013

By John Workman

  • Salem Chapel, built in 1893, which hid the original John Wesley Chapel for many years

  • The forgotten chapel, built in 1818

  • One of six foundation stones on the front of the old Salem Chapel on Pedmore Road, Lye

  • Don Cochrane's new book about Lye and Wollescote

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LOCAL historian Don Cochrane has supplied us with a copy of his new book, priced at £13.99, entitled A Brief History of Lye & Wollescote Part II.

Those who read the book will discover a unique set of circumstances surrounding a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Lye. As Don explains, "I am delighted to be able to tell the tale of the forgotten chapel of John Wesley. It was built in 1818 on the Pedmore Road in Lye and called the Methodist Chapel (Wesleyan Reform).

"The chapel is a good example of a break-away Methodist Chapel constructed with minimum resources, built by members of the Methodist congregation themselves and designed without costly decorative features.

"It was a simple, rectangular room, seating 80 to 100 people, whose only comfort would have been an open coal fire or perhaps a stove, and the inside walls could have been left as bare brick, to be finished with plaster at a later date. It was basic in the extreme.

"The windows are a throw back to early window pane technology, when it was easier to make lots of small panes rather than larger ones. The design of 30 panes in a cast-iron frame, built into the wall without a timber frame, is typical of those found in surviving 19th century factory buildings in the Lye area.

"Up until recently few even knew of the existence of the Wesleyan Chapel, the building hidden from view by the Salem Chapel that was built in 1893. But in the past few years the creation of a car park after the demolition of other buildings has enabled the early 19th century chapel to stand proud once again."

A story that featured in the Bugle several years ago about the Humble Dumbles, the field to the south of the River Stour in Lye that had an undulating, hilly surface, makes a welcome appearance in Don's new book.

This and other interesting aspects of the history of Lye and Wollescote can be found in Don's book. If you are interested in purchasing a copy please contact Don Cochrane direct on 01562 882384.

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