Bath Chronicle History Article


NEW MISSION HALL BATHAHPTON WESLEYANS ENTERPRISE WARMINSTER ROAD BUILDING Bathampton’s new Wesleyan Mission Hall is a much more imposing and commodious building than the one it replaces, and is calculated to meet, for some time at all events, the demand for more accommodation. The new hall is not in the village, as is the one hitherto used, but situate on the Warminster Road opposite to the top of Down Lane. The site, which slopes towards the road, has been given by Mr W. H. Padfield, of Canal Farm, who has been a very live wire in the enterprise to bring into existence a more up-to-date, Wesleyan place of worship in the parish. The new hall is said to be in practically the centre of the parish, though it is some distance from Bathampton village. It commands a magnificent panoramic view – from Lansdown, on the left, to Brown’s Folly on the right – the village of Batheaston being in the mid-distance, seen nestling at the edge of the valley between Little Solsbury and Bannerdown.

THE COST. The new building can comfortably seat 150 people.
It has a brick foundation, above which are walls of asbestos sheeting strengthened with timber and cement. The interior walls are half matchboarding. On each side there is a small room connecting with the main hall suitable for Sunday School purposes. The contractors are Messrs W and A. Edgell Ltd., horticultural builders, Radstock. The cost of the building, including furnishing, gas and electric lighting is £486, of which £250 had to be raised when the Mission Hall
was opened and dedicated on Thursday afternoon. There was a large gathering of Wesleyans and other denominations in the city for the opening ceremony, which was to have been performed by the Mayoress (Madame Sarah Grand), who greatly regretted that she was unable to fulfil the engagement. Among those present were the Rev. F.G. Gatehouse (Wesleyan superintendent minister), Dr Gillie (Presbyterian minister), Alexander Findlay (West Twerton Baptist minister) and E.J. Padfield (superintendent of the Trowbridge and Bradford Wesleyan circuit), representatives of the Salvation Army, and many lay representatives of Wesleyan Methodists in Bath. Mr. C.E. Revell presided at the opening ceremony, and after announcing the Mayoress‘s inability to be present, and paying tribute to the great distinction with which she filled the office and her readiness to help every good cause in the city, he said they had, taking the Mayoress’s place, a lady of the New King Street Church, at which she had rendered splendid service – Mrs Luther Wilson (applause). Mrs. Luther Wilson said Methodism had a record of which they were all justly proud, and she trusted that success would attend the work that would be done there (applause) Inserting the key in the lock, Mrs Wilson said she had great pleasure in declaring open the hall, which she was the first to enter.
THE DEDICATORY SERMON. The gathering made a full congregation at the dedicatory service, at which Dr Gillie officiated. He read the dedicatory sentences and subsequently preached the dedicatory sermon. His topic was “the faith of an evangelical Free Churchman” and his basis ll Timothy, l, xiii “Hold fast the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Jesus Christ!” He was quite sure he said, that 50 years ago a Presbyterian minister would not have been asked to take the dedicatory service in the opening of a new Wesleyan Methodist Mission Church, but they were not as close together then as they were now. He referred to the remarkable movement/in Scotland towards complete fusion, and as regarding England, if he only dared to be a prophet, he would say it would not be long before the three great Methodist Communions- the Primitive Methodists, the United Methodists and the Wesleyan Methodists- would all be joined together to form one vast Methodist Communion with more than a million members. Asking what were the convictions for which they stood. Dr Gillie enumerated them as: We stand for a living Christianity, which means above everything else a religion of the intercourse of persons; that there is a response from God which it is possible to recognise, though it might not come in the same way as it came to our forefathers, that the fellowship of those who share this experience is inevitable; that living religion must issue in morality- religion and morality -are so closely bound together that unless your faith makes you better men you have not got the right kind of religion; and lastly we say we stand for spiritual freedom. Each of these points was amplified by Dr Gillie, whose address was of a characteristically impressive nature. Madame Olive Bromley sang a solo. A public tea was served at 5.50, and two hours later the public meeting commenced, Alderman F. W. Spear presiding and addresses being also given by local ministers and others. The collections were for the new building fund.

A good deal of enthusiasm was in evidence in connection with the opening of the new Wesleyan Mission Hall in the Parish of Bathampton on Thursday, and the afternoon and evening proceedings augmented the building fund by over £34. The hall is very pleasantly situated, but being rather near the Warminster Road, it is possible that the noise of traffic, which is very heavy of Sundays, may penetrate to the interior of the hall, and it also seems that considerable care will have to be exercised by those proceeding to and leaving services, having regard to the amount of traffic passing the building. The forthcoming changes in the Wesleyan ministry are announced:- The Supt Minister of the Bath Circuit, the Rev. F.G. Gatehouse who, during his four years at New King Street, has won the esteem of all parties and has been called upon to assist in a number of city efforts, is going to Taunton, and his successor the Rev. S. Yelland Richards comes from East Grinstead, where he has been associated with the Sussex Mission. Mr. Richards has seen 54 years in the ministry. The Rev. Phelps, of Oldfield Park, is off to Weston-super-Mare and the vacancy here will be filled by the Rev. E. Ralph Bates, of the Bristol Mission.