Drawing from Rochdale Past and Present and © William Robertson
The history of Methodism in Rochdale dates from the middle of the 18th century, the first mention made in Mr Wesley’s journal is 18 Oct 1749. The next visit we know of is 3rd Apr 1752 at Bankhouse near Rochdale. The Society at Bankhouse was visited by preachers at Bury and Smallbridge Society had preachers from Colne showing that Methodism was not established in Rochdale as early as other neighbouring towns. About 1760 a Society was formed and a Preaching Room found at Waterside, they later occupied a building in Temple Court, Blackwater Street and subsequently moved to a new chapel in Toad Lane about 1770 which they occupied for about 20 years. It was later occupied by the Countess of Huntingdon Society, then used as a theatre and assembly rooms; then the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society erected their Central Store on the site.
The Methodist Chapel built in Union Street opened on 22 May 1793, but was only used for 32 years as it became unsafe due to a defect in the original construction. A new chapel was built in 1826 at a cost of £6,000 and opened 16 March 1826. At the time it was the largest in the connexion, seating 1,650.
The chapel was demolished in the 1960’s.
In 1835/6 a large secession from this society took place and eventually formed the Methodist Free Church, Baillie Street.