At the time of the establishment of this Congregational Chapel in 1829, Kirkdale was a village lyng some two miles beyond the outer reaches of Liverpool with a rapidly expanding population of between 2 and 3,000 persons.
The building, situated in Claremont Grove, was constructed to meet the devotional needs of local non-conformists and was opened on Wednesday, October 28th 1829 being described thus; “a neat and commodious chapel, calculated to accommodate from 3 to 400 persons, and capable of admitting a gallery." Preachers at the opening where the Reverends John Kelly and Dr. Raffles1.
The Rev. Joshua Tunstall became Minister in 1830 at a time when congregations averaged “60 to 80 in the morning, and from 100 to 200 in the evening". Tunstall remained as Pastor for 30 years resigning in 1858. A succession of Ministers followed, with an American, the Rev. F. Wallace becoming Pastor in 1866. Wallace led the move from Claremont Grove to the present building in Westminster Road (now the United Reformed Church) in 18721.
The original chapel in Claremont Grove (now Fountains Road) was purchased by the Roman Catholic diocese in 1870 and opened as the Church of St. John the Evangelist. A new church replaced the original chapel building in 18852.
References and Links
1. Lancashire nonconformity, or, Sketches, historical & descriptive, of the Congregational and old Presbyterian churches in the county. Nightingale, Benjamin, 1893, pp 176-178. John Heywood, Deansgate And Riugefield, Manchester. Contributed by: The Library Of Victoria University Toronto
2. Townships: Kirkdale, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 35-40