The founding father of Methodism, John Wesley, began preaching in Halifax in the 1740s, often outdoors, and to large crowds who weren't always thrilled to hear him. The first Halifax Methodist preaching room was opened at Cow Green in 1749. The meetings were popular and the congregations swelled, and within 10 years a small chapel was opened in Church Lane.
This was replaced by the much larger South Parade Chapel in 1777, built at a cost of £1,230. John Wesley preached at it's opening and the collection plate must have weighed very heavy - the donations amounting to a staggering £500. Wesley continued to visit the chapel and his journal of 1778 records "I spoke to them in Halifax with all plainness yet I did not hear that any was offended".
In the 1870s the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway demanded the compulsory purchase of the graveyard to enable expansion of the adjacent goods yard. The chapels Trustees took the case to the House of Lords, but it resulted in the rail company being forced to buy the entire site, which it did in 1878. The South Parade Methodists found themselves a home in the large and newly built St Johns Methodist church on Prescott Street. The railway company rented out the chapel building for a variety of purposes until 1966 when it was demolished so that the road could be widened.
Above: the chapel just before it was demolished.
© 2000 Tana Willis Johnson