An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St. Helens, Lancashire

Part 11 (of 91 parts) - History of Religion in Sutton Part 4 (Chapels)

An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St.Helens
Part 11 (of 91) - History of Religion in Sutton Part 4
An Illustrated History of
Old Sutton in St.Helens
History of Religion in Sutton Part 4 (Chapels)
Researched and Written by Stephen Wainwright ©MMXVII

Welsh Chapels and the Wesleyan Methodists

The first purpose-built church in Sutton was constructed in 1845 on the corner of Lancots Lane and Sutton Road. It was built by the Wesleyan Methodists on land donated by industrialist William Blinkhorn and many of its cobbles were made from copper slag donated by Newton Keates & Co. An early preacher was Welshman William Williams of Worsley Brow, who described himself on the 1861 census as ‘chemist and druggist’. Two of the new church's trustees were the father and son millers of Sutton, both called David Lamb, who operated the water corn mill by Mill Brow. It was soon realised that more space was needed and in March 1862 permission was granted by the Wesleyan authorities to enlarge the chapel. After the work had been completed, The Watchman and Wesleyan Advertiser reported on its re-opening on August 4th, which due to the large number of guests, took place in a Sutton Glassworks' warehouse: 'The celebration of the re-opening of the Sutton Wesleyan Chapel and Schools was the occasion of a jubilant gathering…Upwards of 600 of the congregation and friends partook of tea and the accompanying 'good things'. After tea, which was not concluded until between seven and eight o’clock, there was a Public Meeting, at which Mr. J. Wilson was called upon to preside.'

However the expansion soon proved insufficient and on November 17th 1870, the cornerstone of larger premises at 364 Sutton Road was laid by
Thomas Hazelehurst of Runcorn. He was a senior Methodist who had laid more than 50 foundation stones at Wesleyan chapels, and possessed a remarkable collection of silver trowels, with one presented to him on each ceremonial occasion. The Watchman and Wesleyan Advertiser reported that the new Sutton chapel was being designed in the form of a parallelogram, with the architecture 'simple and chaste'. The front would be red brick with stone facings and the ground floor would accommodate 500 hundred persons, with provision in the design for a gallery along each side and across the front, capable of seating 200 more. The chapel was built by George Harris (1810-75), and his son George Jnr. served as architect. Wesleyan churches were their speciality, although George Harris and Son – which was originally Harris and Sherratt – also built many factories, public buildings and cottages in St.Helens.

Ten months later the building was complete at a cost of £2,500, with the chapel's superintendent,
Rev. Thomas Derry, credited with raising funds and being the driving force behind the new building. Space was allocated for Sunday schools to be built at the rear, although initially they retained their original chapel in Lancots Lane as a Sunday school. By 1891 this was proving quite inadequate with the 300 scholars and teachers crammed into a building just 46 feet long and 23 feet wide. The smaller children were forced to sit on a bare floor, with the building having become somewhat dilapidated.
“Sutton

The former building of the Sutton Road Wesleyan Methodists when being used by St.Helens Joinery

“Sutton

The former building of the Sutton Road Wesleyan Methodists

“Sutton

Sutton Road Methodists chapel

So in December 1891 a three day bazaar was opened in the Wesleyan Schools in Hardshaw Street, St.Helens. This was part of a fundraising drive to finance a new Sunday school in Sutton Road that was going to cost £1500 to build. In opening the bazaar, Dr. Mc.Nicholl said the existing school was a "disgrace to Sutton" and "an eyesore". The school adjacent to the chapel was built in 1893 and at a further fundraising bazaar on March 11th 1897, it was stated that the Wesleyan Methodists still owed £450 on their new Sunday school.
“Sutton
Frank Bamber in his 'Clog Clatters in Old Sutton' described the Sutton Road church as a large building:
  ...where we used to socialize on an evening after leaving school. Here we played all sorts of games, blind man's buff, guessing games and kiss in ring. We greatly enjoyed ourselves here.  
Frank was born in 1910, so his chapel recollections would be from around 1920. During the 1930s the minister at Sutton Road Methodists was Rev. V. C. Cowell, who was succeeded in late 1939 by Rev. R. Thornley, who also preached at other Methodist churches. Due to subsidence, the Methodists moved to a new building in New Street in 1961. For some years a small building firm called Manufactured Joinery operated from the church.
“The

The Sutton Oak Welsh Chapel in Lancots Lane was initially a Methodist church then a Sunday school

“The

The Welsh chapel in Lancots Lane was initially a Methodist church

“The

The Sutton Oak Welsh Chapel

On September 7th 1893, the old Methodist Sunday school in Lancots Lane was sold to the Welsh community for £180, who used it as a non-denominational, non-conformist place of worship. There had been a considerable influx of Welsh copper workers into Sutton during the 19th century and their first church services had taken place in a cottage in 1834. Later the Welsh occupied a storeroom at Crone and Taylor's fertiliser and manure factory. The congregation had to climb through a hole in the surrounding wall to gain access to the storeroom and so it was quickly dubbed the "Hole in the Wall" church. Although the "slag chapel" across the road became too small for the Methodists, it was ideal for the Welsh and the Sutton Oak Welsh Chapel still exists to this day.
“The

The former Welsh Presbyterian Chapel in Peckers Hill Road, Sutton, St.Helens

“The

The former Welsh Presbyterian Chapel in Peckers Hill Road

“The

Former Welsh Presbyterian Chapel

There used to be another Welsh chapel located at the bottom of Peckers Hill Road (no.5) by Hoghton Road, known as the St.Helens Junction Welsh Chapel. The building still exists but is now seemingly a dilapidated storeroom with the Welsh Presbyterian Church having sold the property in 1989. Its origins date back to 1893 when a meeting of Welshmen was held in the Junction Lane house of David Jones. They elected to rent a room over a shoe shop in Peckers Hill Road and their first service was held in October of that year, conducted by Rev. Ellis Lloyd. A minister of the Welsh Presbyterian Chapel in Hardshaw Street in St.Helens took services on Sunday afternoons and in 1894 sixteen of their members transferred to Sutton. Soon the rented room became overcrowded and so it was decided to build a chapel of their own, which was eventually opened in January 1897 with a schoolroom added in 1913. Rev. J. Peron Jones ministered at both the Peckers Hill Road and Hardshaw Street chapels for over forty years, with all of their services conducted in the Welsh language.
“Welsh

Pictured in 2012 the former home of the Welsh Baptist chapel in Robins Lane, now used as offices

“Welsh

The former home of the Welsh Baptist chapel in Robins Lane

“Welsh

Former home of Welsh Baptist chapel

Sometimes a combined choir from both the Sutton Welsh chapels performed together, such as on Sunday 7th May 1939. Then a choir visited Walton prison to perform for the benefit of Welsh prisoners. It was led by Richard Penbryn Hughes, a joiner in Sutton Copper Works and undertaker, who lived at 32 Junction Lane. He arrived in Sutton about 1904 from his native Conway and for many years conducted the Sutton and District Juvenile Choral Societies. Penbryn Hughes was also involved in BBC radio broadcasts, such as on Saturday January 28th 1939 when he conducted 30 minutes of Welsh community singing. The programme broadcast at 6:30pm from the English Presbyterian Church at Runcorn involved Welsh societies from Sutton Oak, Widnes, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Runcorn and Crewe.
“Plaques

Two of the plaques on the Garnet Street side of the former Welsh Baptist chapel in Robins Lane

“Plaques

Plaques on the Garnet Street side of the former Welsh Baptist chapel

“Plaques

Welsh Baptist chapel plaques

A Welsh Baptist chapel also existed in Robins Lane on the corner of Garnet Street. The building still exists and has recently been used as the offices of a care company. Morgan Morgan and his brother John Morgan founded the church in 1906. The latter worked as a miner and conducted the choir at the chapel and also formed a string band, before emigrating to Canada about 1920. Stones on one side of the building are named after Dr. Henry Baker Bates, Charles Walsh and Joseph Appleton, who were all St.Helens councillors. After closure it first became a food store and then from about 1960 the building was occupied by East Sutton Derby and Joan club, which a Mr. Glover had first started at Sutton National School. He ran a shop on the corner of Junction Lane.

Independent Methodist Chapel & Emmanuel Mission

The Zion Independent Methodist Chapel at 107 Herbert Street had its roots at Little Neston colliery on the Wirral. When it closed in 1884 many miners left the area seeking work. Some who had worshipped at the newly-founded Independent Methodist chapel in Elizabeth Street in Liverpool came to Sutton. One was Ishmael Kendrick who briefly held some prayer meetings at his Alice Street home. Then on November 12th 1884, Thomas Hilton opened his Herbert Street home for services and wooden benches were installed in his front room. A portable lectern was made to fit over the back of a chair and Johnson Anderton brought his small harmonica organ from his Hoghton Road home for the 3pm and 6pm services. Hymn books were provided by the Liverpool Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches.
“Independent

The Independent Methodist Chapel in Herbert Street, Sutton - now Sutton Village Church

“Independent

The Independent Methodist Chapel is now Sutton Village Church

“Independent

The Independent Methodist Chapel is now known as Sutton Village Church

The accommodation was soon inadequate and on June 1st 1885 a wooden chapel was opened on Lee Street. It had been purchased by Mr. J. Splash, the manager of a lead works for £12 and he also arranged for its transportation to St.Helens Junction. Local wags dubbed it 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' or 'Noah's Ark'! The hut's exterior was gas tarred and inside it was whitewashed and lit by oil lamps. It was later improved by gas lighting and oak-grained papering. More and more children began attending meetings, so in 1886 a Sunday School was established. Then in 1887 a new organ was purchased at a cost of £18.
“The

The reopening of the Independent Methodist chapel in Herbert Street in 1910 - Contributed by John Dolan

“The

The reopening of the Independent Methodist chapel in 1910

“The

Independent Methodist chapel in 1910

“Joseph
Joseph Maddison
As the Sutton population increased, so did the numbers attending chapel and a new purpose-built church was required. So three hundred square yards of land in Herbert Street was leased from William Pilkington, Lord of the Manor of Sutton, and the new chapel was opened by William Sanderson on September 27th 1891. The building made out of brick, accommodated three hundred worshippers. As the congregation grew, it was appreciated that more space was needed and so an additional 207.5 square yards of land was leased. A side wall was removed and the building was elongated with its reopening on June 25th 1910 attended by five hundred people. In 1934 the entrance to the chapel was redesigned, the hipped roof was removed and the whole building was made uniform. Inside the building, classrooms with folding partitions were created on both floors that were accessed by a balcony running the width of the hall.

Joseph Maddison of Carnegie Street served as an unpaid minister at the Herbert Street Church for 30 years prior to his death in November 1939 from silicosis. He acquired the deadly disease after working as a plasterer’s labourer but as his most recent occupation was not on the silicosis list, he had been denied compensation. However Maddison had originally been a collier at Ashtons Green Colliery, where he might have contracted the disease.
“Dick

Richard Kitts and wife Catherine of Fenny's Lane - contributed by Catherine Worsley

“Dick

Richard Kitts and wife Catherine of Fenny's Lane

“Dick

Richard Kitts and wife Catherine

Like other churches the Independent Methodists had a Bible Class, who held an annual meeting where a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer were elected. Collier Richard Kitts of Fennys Lane served as President during the 1950s and also preached at the church. A Christian Endeavour movement began at the church in 1904, which also had its own president, who presided over an annual rally. Their flower committee regularly distributed bunches of flowers, donated by church members, to the sick in Sutton. Coal miner Enoch Coaley of Edgeworth Street served as president of Christian Endeavour during the 1950s, although the CE movement ceased at the church during the ’80s. The Independent Methodists have also been renowned for the training of volunteer ministers, with its own overseas missions department responsible for raising funds. In August 1952 Elva Robinson was presented with a silver medal for collecting £58 10s. for the international missions section of the church.

In 1962 another two-storey extension was added to the Methodist chapel by
Thomas's builders of Sutton, which ran parallel to the main hall. This created large meeting rooms that were used for the Sunday School, as well as a kitchen. A car park adjacent to the building was created in 1980 when 288 square yards of land at the side of the church was rented from St.Helens Council. The agreed rent was £50 p.a. but within six years had increased to £430 per year. Fortunately the council allowed them to purchase the land for £3000 in 1987 and the debt was cleared within five years.

Elva Simpson's 'Miners and Saints in Sutton' describes three well-known preachers at the Herbert Street church:
 Three notable characters of the time, Jack Kitts, Billy Hardy and Billy Southern, used to sit in a little front pew (three was a squash) and used to shout with the preacher. If they agreed, they encouraged and exhorted but they would publicly correct him if they thought that the preaching was wrong and in error of Scripture.
John (Jack) Kitts and Billy (Chippy) Southern had been hard-drinking miners who decided to change their ways and preach against the evils of drink. Frank Bamber wrote in 'Clog Clatters of Old Sutton' that when the new Wheatsheaf Hotel in Mill Lane was opened in 1938, the pair tried unsuccessfully to stop a large crowd from entering the pub. The two thickset individuals of medium height ‘with ruddy features and generous moustaches’ castigated the drinkers that they were entering the ‘House of the Devil’.

Kitts had been born in 1872 and as a young man loved to drink, gamble and brawl. However he quit the pit and began working a plot in Sutton Road where he kept poultry. Their eggs were distributed around Sutton from a carrier box attached to the rear of his bicycle. This also held collection boxes to support missionaries who had travelled to the Belgian Congo. For those who helped him to fill the boxes, he would leave all the eggs that he could spare. Jack's son, also John Kitts, became a missionary and in 1938 travelled to the Belgium Congo for a ten year period. Jack’s younger brother Lot (b. 1876) also renounced the pub for the pulpit. The latter became known for giving those entering the Prince of Wales pub on a Sunday, fiery ‘fire and brimstone’ warnings of doom unless they changed their ways. Billy Southern worked down Bold Colliery and was converted by the words of a travelling preacher who formed a procession outside his home.
“Preacher

Two photos of preacher Billy Hardy, founder of the Emmanuel Mission, with wife May on the right

“Preacher

Preacher Billy Hardy, founder of the Emmanuel Mission, with wife May

“Preacher

Billy Hardy Emmanuel Mission founder

Billy Hardy was the son of Alfred Hardy, who had been the landlord of the Boilermaker's Arms during the 1890s and early 1900s. In his memoir, 'God's Dealings with William Hardy of St Helens', Billy described his father as having been a "victim of his own liquor, being a drunkard ever since I could remember him, and a great bookie and gambler". Astonishingly, young Willie - as his family then knew him - had been drinking from the age of five and the boy wouldn't go to bed without a glass of beer. At the outbreak of war, Hardy rushed to enlist, imagining that it would be a 'grand holiday'. Badly wounded in the arm while fighting on the Somme, he was discharged from the army in the Spring of 1918.

In 1920 Billy married Mary and the couple had a difficult early life together. When in drink Hardy would strike his wife and he left her on several occasions. One afternoon while sleeping off the effects of his boozing, his two and a half-years-old son John tugged at his arm. The little boy told his father that he'd been to Sunday school to learn about Jesus. This irritated Billy and he told his son that he mustn't go any more. But later that day when bound again for the pub, he found himself inside the Methodist chapel listening to a preaching miner. Billy was soon converted and he told his disbelieving wife that he was going to change his ways and he began preaching in open air meetings. A month after his conversion, Hardy prayed in front of the Boilermakers' Arms and his former mates who were drinking inside his birthplace, couldn't resist making fun of him. Billy later reflected how that experience had "killed timidity in me. I have never since feared going anywhere for my blessed Jesus".
“Emmanuel

The Emmanuel Mission in Helena Road c.1935 founded by Billy Hardy, John Kitts and Billy (Chippy) Southern

“Emmanuel

The Emmanuel Mission in Helena Road in Sutton pictured about 1935

“Emmanuel

The Emmanuel Mission c.1935

There was no resident minister at the chapel with different preachers used and as already stated, their teachings didn't always meet with the approval of Hardy, Kitts and Southern. By the late 1920s, the trio became so dissatisfied with the lack of spiritual control that they decided to leave the church and establish their own. Initially they ran a Sunday school in an old bus parked in a Sutton yard but soon they began planning a small chapel. Billy was a turner by trade and his employer allowed them to use some of his land in Helena Road to build a hut. It measured just 28 feet by 16 feet and was opened as the Emmanuel Mission on August 16th 1932. Sutton wags dubbed it the "hen-shed" or "monkey house" and only eight worshippers attended its first regular church service. However Billy Hardy, the driving force of the new chapel, was undeterred. He held nightly prayer meetings and the number of worshippers soon grew to the extent that a new building was required to accommodate them all.
“Emmanuel

Conference Group at the Emmanuel Mission c.1938 - Contributed by Janet Ball - View Larger Version

Emmanuel Mission in Helena Road Sutton, St.Helens c.1938

Conference Group at the Emmanuel Mission c.1938 - View Larger Version

“Emmanuel

Conference Group at Emmanuel Mission

A young architect donated his time to create the designs and many workmen volunteered their services to turn the plans into reality. The new and much larger, brick-built church in Helena Road was opened on November 16th 1934. The above photograph shows a Conference Group outside the new Emmanuel Mission on Whit Monday c.1938. Note the bibles that many are holding. The young women wearing bonnets were students of Emmanuel College, a theological college in Birkenhead which was run by a Mr and Mrs Drysdale.

In March 1939
Rev. Elmer Shelhamer - the renowned American evangelist and author who had travelled all over the world - arrived in Sutton to conduct a series of services at the Emmanuel Mission. At the time of Shelhamer’s arrival, the church had three missionaries in Africa and five others were being trained to carry out evangelistic work abroad.

Billy Hardy – who was sometimes called Pastor Billy – later made several visits to the United States, where he was said to have followings of thousands and he filled Madison Square Gardens. Billy's son John Hardy – who was instrumental in his father's conversion – became a builder, erecting homes in Eccleston. During the 1950s the Emmanuel Mission was renamed the
Church of the Nazarene and in July 2015 it became the church of the Living Waters Christian Fellowship. In February 2017 planning permission was granted to convert the building into the premises of Walker's Funeral Service, with two chapels of rest and a mortuary.
“Billy

Billy Hardy is in the middle of this photo with wife May and daughter Margaret - Contributed by Janet Ball

“Billy

Billy Hardy is in the middle of this photo with wife May and daughter Margaret

“Billy

Billy Hardy is in the middle of this photo

The Independent Methodist Church in Herbert Street is now known as Sutton Village Church and they still hold their annual Walk of Witness. This tradition first began 120 years ago and involves worshippers touring Sutton singing hymns.
Peasley Cross Congregational Church
The Congregational Church built a chapel in Sutton Road in Peasley Cross near the railway bridge with its foundation stone laid by Richard Pilkington on October 4th 1864. Also buried was a bottle containing a copy of The Times and local newspapers such as the Liverpool Mercury and the St. Helens Intelligencer. The hermetically-sealed time capsule also contained a copy of the St.Helens Advertising Almanack, a record of the stone-laying ceremony plus various coins of the realm.
“Peasley

Exterior of Peasley Cross Congregational Church c.1960 and interior during the 1950s - Contributed by Cynthia Taylor

“Peasley

Peasley Cross Congregational Church c.1960 and interior during 1950s

“Peasley

Peasley Cross Congregational Church

The Congregational Church was opened in December 1865 and adopted a Gothic style of architecture with a nave and aisle plus porch and tower and spire in the middle. It was constructed from stone sourced from quarries in Rainford and Rainhill by builder William Harrison for about £3000. The architect was Thomas Oliver from Newcastle who designed the church to accommodate 600 adults and 150 children and its first minister was Rev. William Ganett Horder. Originally a Sunday school that accommodated 90 pupils was held in a side aisle of the chapel.
“Peasley

Congregational School in School Street off Peasley Cross Lane in 1960 with 'Chemics' tip in Jackson Street in the background

“Peasley

Congregational School, School Street in 1960 with Chemics tip in background

“Peasley

Congregational School, School Street 1960

This soon proved inadequate and on October 3rd 1871, the foundation stone of a new building for Sunday School instruction was laid. There was then 473 pupils with 28 teachers and officers and the new Sunday school which adjoined the chapel was able to accommodate 600 persons. The architect and builder was George Harris and the cost of construction was about £1700. Annual field and sports days were held in Sherdley Park, mainly organised by the Women's Bible Class and Brotherhood. From April 1877, Rev. J. P. Ritchie was minister at the church and in April 1898 he accepted the pastorate of the Congregational Church in North End, Port Elizabeth in South Africa. The Congregationalists’ pastor in 1889 was Rev. W. Parry.
“Peasley

Handbag and accessories donated by Queen Elizabeth in 1939 plus Church Ladies group in late 1950s

“Peasley

Handbag donated by Queen Elizabeth in 1939 plus Church Ladies group

“Peasley

Handbag donated by Queen Elizabeth in 1939 plus the Church Ladies group

On July 10th 1935 the Lancashire Evening Post reported that Queen Mary (wife of King George V) had sent Peasley Cross Congregational Church a ‘beautiful mahogany casket’, for sale at the church’s jubilee bazaar. The church minister at this time was Rev. S. C. Hickling and on Sunday January 29th 1939, he dedicated a new Sunday School that adjoined the church, with the school superintendent being Mr. G. Huyton. In August 1939 Queen Elizabeth (wife of King George VI) sent presents to the Congregational Church for auctioning at their church gala on the Grange Farm field in Marshalls Cross Road. These included a lady’s leather handbag, purse, mirror, leather jewellery case and two glass water bottles and tumblers decorated with snowdrops. The church at this time had a popular Christian Endeavour Society which organised many activities, such as long hikes.
“1953
Rev. William G. West was the minister at the Peasley Cross Congregational Church from 1953 to 1959, living at 285 Marshall's Cross Road, just a couple of doors down from the corner shop. The above photograph (contributed by Cynthia Taylor) was taken at his induction service with Rev. West fifth from right next to the Mayor of St.Helens Joseph Waring with Doris West at the far right next to Cllr. Rennie and Mr. Corfield (3rd right). Also pictured is Rev. Walter Lazenby (2nd from left). Rev. West was a prolific visitor and without a car, was bought a motorised bike by the church to get around the district. Peasley Cross Congregational Church held an annual fair with a different theme each year. A Dutch Fair was held one year which was opened by the Dutch consul. The church and its school were demolished about 1975 and a lighter church building replaced it.
“Left:

Left: Rev. West on his motorised bike; Right: With wife Doris and daughter Cynthia - contributed by Cynthia Taylor

“Left:

Rev. West on his motorised bike and with wife Doris and daughter Cynthia

“Left:

Rev. West on his motorised bike and with wife Doris and daughter Cynthia

Other Chapels in Sutton & District
Tin Chapel, Robins Lane, Sutton, St.Helens
The Tin Chapel in Robins Lane
A Free United Methodist Chapel was situated in Marshalls Cross at the top of Clock Face Road, near Chester Lane and adjacent to Marshalls Cross Pottery. It was a branch chapel of the main church in St.Helens and its memorial stone was laid by Rev. G. H. Thompson of Liverpool on June 9th 1873. The chapel also had a Sunday School and on January 12th 1889 the St.Helens Reporter described a tea meeting for scholars at the chapel, organised by John Smith. The entertainment included ‘magic-lantern entertainment of an amusing nature’, as well as songs, glees and readings. The chapel was shown on Ordnance Survey maps of 1893 and 1907 but was not listed in the 1928 version. On December 27th 1904, coroner Samuel Brighouse held two inquests in the chapel but complained that it was as "cold as death". He added that if he and the jury had sat in that "deadly cold place much longer they would all be ill with pneumonia."

Up until 1939 there was a little Primitive Methodist Connexion chapel on Robins Lane that backed onto an entry between Edgeworth Street and Ellen Street. It was nicknamed the 'Tin Chapel' as its roof and outside walls were encased in corrugated iron sheets. It was opened by the Mayor of St.Helens, Henry Martin, on January 5th 1905 and cost less than £600 to construct. In his opening speech, Cllr. Martin said there was room in a district like Sutton for the "fire of Primitive Methodism to make itself felt" in the neighbourhood. There was no dedicated minister but members of a Methodist circuit preached in the chapel supported by local lay preachers. On April 21st 1939 a notice was placed in the St.Helens Reporter stating that the Methodist church in Robins Lane, which had been certified for worship on January 2nd 1905, had ceased to be a place of worship from April 12th 1939. After it closed, the building became a social centre for St.Annes RC church but has long been demolished. Worshippers transferred to the Methodist chapel in Sutton Road and then onto the New Street church.

A
Methodist Mission also existed in Sutton Manor, which was the first religious place of worship built in the village. The original building was a wooden structure that was built in 1915 and situated off Milton Street and in March 1927 the Wesleyan church was registered for solemnizing marriages. During the 1930s the chapel had an additional role as a canteen for school meals for Sutton Manor school pupils, under the supervision of a Mrs. Whitmore.

During the late 1930s a drive began to raise funds for a new, larger Methodist Mission. Fundraising included concerts and direct appeals to members of the St.Helens and Prescot Methodist Circuit. By March 1939 the church’s initial target of £1000 had been raised and the St.Helens Reporter of July 21st 1939 said that a piece of land at the corner of Forest Road and Jubits Lane had been purchased as the site of the new mission. With the outbreak of war and post-war shortages, it took until 1955 before the new church was built with
Sir Harry Pilkington laying the foundation stone. An annual event was ‘Flower Day’, in which special services were held and children brought flowers, which were later distributed to the sick of the village. On October 14th 1950 a presentation was made to two long-serving church workers, Mrs. R. Fillingham and Mrs. Carter, who for 32 years had served in the canteen at every church function.

Also in the Manor was a small
Evangelical Church that was opened by colliery under-manager John Sharrock around the mid-1920s. It was originally built by the owners of the Blue Works and was situated in Walkers Lane, near Micklehead Green. Their first walking day took place in 1926 and during WW2 a ‘rallying canteen’ run by the Women’s Voluntary Services was based there. Its purpose was to provide food, first-aid and shelter to those rendered homeless by an air raid. After the war the old building became a crisp factory called Manor Crisps and then the Sutton Manor Labour Club, before a new club was built next to Hancock's Garage in Jubits Lane.
“Clock

Clock Face Methodists outside their church in Clock Face Road in 1906 - Contributed by Terry Callaghan

“Clock

Clock Face Methodists outside their church in Clock Face Road in 1906

“Clock

Clock Face Methodists in 1906

Wesleyan Methodists first began worshipping in the Clock Face district during the 1890s. At first a waiting room on Clock Face railway station was used for their meetings and then a dedicated chapel was opened on Clock Face Road about 1905. In September 1923 the Wesleyan chapel became registered to conduct marriages. It had its own Sunday School, with the superintendent during the 1930s and ‘40s being Mr. D. Gilvray. In May 1938 a men’s bible class was founded and in 1939 a drive began to raise funds for a new Methodist Mission in Clock Face. The fundraising included concerts, jumble sales etc., although it appears to have taken 25 years before their plans could become a reality.
“Esther

Esther Kenwright's 1923 wedding invitation and photo at Clock Face Methodist chapel - Contributed by Terry Callaghan

“Esther

Esther Kenwright's 1923 wedding invitation and photo at the chapel

“Esther

Esther Kenwright's 1923 wedding invitation and photo at the chapel

On May 11th 1963, the new church constructed from brick on the same site opposite the local post office was opened. The building cost £8,000 and the architect was Mrs. M. Hayes Chapman who was pictured in newspaper reports handing the keys to 82-year-old Thomas Kenwright. He was the church's oldest trustee and very influential in the new building's construction and owned the farm on Gartons Lane near the bridge. On the following day the first service took place in the new church.
“Clock

Left: Thomas Kenwright at the opening in 1963; Right: His sister Catherine in the church in 1972 - Contributed by Terry Callaghan

“Clock

Thomas Kenwright at the opening in 1963 and his sister Catherine in 1972

“Clock

Thomas Kenwright at the opening in 1963 and his sister Catherine in 1972

On November 1st 2011 planning permission was granted by St.Helens Council to convert Clock Face Methodist Church into a children’s day nursery known as ‘Little Angels’.
“Clock

Clock Face Methodist Church pictured in 2008 - the building is now used as a day nursery

“Clock

Clock Face Methodist Church pictured in 2008 - the building is now a day nursery

“Clock

Clock Face Methodist Church in 2008

The 1911 census also lists a Sutton Baptist Mission at 12 Ellamsbridge Road. A Salvation Army corps was also apparently in existence in Sutton Oak around this time and there was also a Railway Servants Mission in Junction Lane. The latter was an iron chapel situated directly opposite its junction with Cecil Street, on the opposite side of the road, and was opened on September 28th 1895. It must have been a reasonable size as the annual Sutton old folks treat was held in the mission hall, with 170 persons attending on January 5th 1904, where they enjoyed tea and entertainment.
“St.Helens
Other Relevant Pages and Articles on Sutton’s Churches:
The Tin Chapel article by Brenda Macdonald and Joan Heyes in Memories of Sutton Part 5; History of Religion Part 1 (C of E); History of Religion Part 2 and 3 (RC); Sutton ChurchesChurches Photo-Album
Also See These Pages:
The Tin Chapel article by Brenda Macdonald and Joan Heyes in Memories of Sutton Part 5; History of Religion Part 1 (C of E); Part 2 (St. Anne’s RC Church) and Part 3 (St. Theresa & St. Joseph RC)
Stephen Wainwright
This website has been written and researched and many images photographed by myself, Stephen Wainwright, the Sutton Beauty & Heritage site owner. Individuals from all over the world have also kindly contributed their own photographs. If you wish to reuse any image, please contact me first as permission may be needed from the copyright owner. High resolution versions of many pictures can also be supplied at no charge. Please also contact me if you can provide any further information or photographs concerning Sutton, St.Helens. You might also consider contributing your recollections of Sutton for the series of Memories pages. Sutton Beauty & Heritage strives for factual accuracy at all times. Do also get in touch if you believe that there are any errors. I respond quickly to emails and if you haven't had a response within twelve hours, check your junk mail folder or resend your message. Thank you! SRW
This website is written and researched by Stephen R. Wainwright ©MMXVII  Contact Me
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