Methodist Chapels in Douglas

locator map

The map is taken from Wood's 1833 plan.
According to Slack Factory Lane, now known as Wellington Street, was originally known as Methodist Meeting House lane, later as Methodist Lane. The name Factory Lane was established in 1819 after Edward Moore's sailcloth works. These works were removed to Tromode and in 1858 replaced by John Mosley's Theatre Royal when the street was renamed Wellington Street after the nearby Wellington Hall (demolished 1996)
Thomas Street dates from around 1806; Victoria Street dates from 1875 and was intended to provide a main thoroughfare from the new pier to Prospect Hill.

Thomas Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel I 1786

Thomas Street

In 1786 the land for the first chapel was bought in Corris Garden, for £30 and a chapel built in the then unnamed street. It faced Thomas Street and bore this name - strictly this chapel would appear to have been in what became known as Factory Lane. In the basement the first Sunday School in the island was held; and, when the chapel was rebuilt the old building became a day and Sunday School. According to Slack the building became an auctioneers in 1816 (?) when the larger chapel in nearby Thomas Street opened.
According to J.E.Douglas' history of Thomas Street Sunday school - a day and Sunday school were operating from 1834 (a Sunday School had opened considerably earlier); in 1839 a fire in the 'cabinet maker's shop underneath the school house' destroyed the premises and with it the library and records of the early school.
The drawing is said to be a 1850s view of the day school - probably not too dissimilar from the original chapel/school

Grid Reference SC381755


Centenary BookletThomas Street Sunday School through a Century 1834-1934 J.E. Douglas

Thomas Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel II 1819

Thomas Street

new church designed by John Taggart opened in 1819

Grid Reference SC381755


Victoria Street Wesleyan Methodist Church 1878

Victoria Street

this was the Thomas Street Church with a improved external appearance built 1878 - demolished 1977 to make way for first Celtic Bank (now Barclays)

Grid Reference SC381755


Wellington Street Primitive Methodist Chapel 1823

Factory Lane/Wellington Street

Wellington Street (a.k.a Factory Lane and Preaching House Lane) abutted the Victoria Road site. The PM church was built, in 1823, and enlarged in 1842. This chapel was opposite the later theatre, after closure became part of the brewery complex before being demolished in the late 1980s to make way for the new Marks and Spencer's store.

Grid Reference SC381755


Well Hill Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel 1837

Well Street

Opened 1837 - closed 1950.
Site now lost under extensive redevelopment (roughly where Markwell House now stands)

See one account by James Cowin.

Grid Reference SC382759


Redferns Mission Fort Street 1878

closed 1880; reopened 1895;closed ? later a garage(1971);

Refern's Mission Hall, Fort Street is building on left - sketch by Leach.

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Quote from MMHS no 7 about memories at turn of century: "Every Sunday evening after the service at Victoria Street, they would adjourn to the Redfern Mission (near Osborn's), and the rickety staircase and shabby room seem to have left a sharp memory." According to Kneen this was originally in the old Redfern's Hotel, James Street, which ceased to be an inn c.1880 and then moved to Fort St when that was demolished c.1890.

Loch Promenade Primitive Methodist Church I 1878

Loch Promenade I

Was one of the first buildings on the then new Loch Promenade. Built 1878 - tower was landmark on most views of Loch promenade.
Design was by local man Thomas Keig.

Grid Reference SC383757


Promenade Methodist Church 1976

Loch Promenade I

Built 1976 on site of Loch Promenade PM Chapel

Grid Reference SC383757


Rosemount Methodist Church, 1886


Tower added 1911;
Now Styled 'Trinity' following amalgamation with Bucks Road.
Douglas expanded rapidly in the second half of the 19th Century - one growth area was into Upper Douglas where the expanding middle class bought property. Increased population put pressure on the older Thomas Street (Victoria Rd) and Well Hill Road chapels and thus in 1880 the site was acquired for £1,480. Having decided that the church should be in the Gothic style, Mssrs Waddington and Sons of Burnley were chosen (according to R.B.Moore probably on the recommendation of W.T.Radcliffe). The contractors were Mssrs Kelly and Preston.
The foundation stone was laid on 27 August 1884 and the church opened 11 June 1886. The total cost was some £8,500 of which some £2,500 remained to pay off. The Sunday school extension was opened in 1893 (and caused some financial grief to the builders Messrs Macadam and Moore). The 112 ft spire was always in the design, work commenced August 1910 and completed the next year. Unfortunately in an effort to reduce costs it was decided to have the stone cut off site, in England, and since not all the stones were cut on the correct face it has tended to flake.
By 1920 the whole debt had been paid off.

Grid Reference SC378761


The interior is lined with pitch pine; Mr E.T.Quiggin (not a Methodist) offered them his personally selected timber originally destined for his new home.
Rosemount was always the 'posh' chapel with many of the leading Methodist personalities in Douglas belonging to it (sometimes referred to as the House of Keys at prayer!).
It has always had a reputation for congregational singing; originally a fine harmonium was installed but in 1888 an organ built by Foster and Andrews (who probably installed the first organ in Thomas Street) with the front designed by Waddington and Son.
1880 trustees were: H. T. McIver. Wm. Christian, Alec. Radcliffe. J. C. Cannell, Robt. Curphey, J. T. Cowell, D. E. Gelling, W. J. Kermode, John Clague, Robert Caine, Wm. Clarke, Giles Metcalf. J. J. Davidson, S. K. Broadbent, Henry Clague, William Clegg, J. T. Cannell, J. D. Kellett, T. W. Kelly, John Douglas.
Centenary BookletThe Story of Rose Mount Methodist Church 1886-1956 by R.B.Moore

Bucks Road Primitive Methodist Church, 1900

Bucks Road

Opened 1900; Closed,In use as commercial offices.

Designed by J.Wills (Derby);
architect's design


Grid Reference SC378758


Report in Mona's Herald 25 July 1900:

The new buildings occupy a very fine and commanding site in Buck's Road. The style adopted is transitional, between the Norman and Early English. The walls are built of native stone, with Monk's Park stone freely used for ashlar. The plan of the building is a rectangle 64 feet 6 inches long by 43 feet 3 inches inside, exclusive of choir stalls. The front is flanked on the right with a projecting stairway, which runs up and finishes with coping and carved finial. The left of the front is flanked with a square tower which terminates at a height of 78 feet. There are octagonal buttresses at the corners, which terminate with pinnacles and carved finials with battlements between. There are two massive doorways in front, richly moulded with goblets over; and over these is a large circular front window, with cusped tracery; all the other windows of the church throughout are either circular or segment headed. There are galleries at two sides and one end, with stairs leading to the same in front and one at the rear. There are also in the rear two vestries, and over these an organ chamber and choir. The roof is partially open, with arched timbering and pitch pine ceiling. The glazing throughout is in cathedral glass, with leaded squares, diamonds, margins, etc., the large front window and choir window being specially treated in handsome designs. The approach to the front is by a broad flight of steps, and advantage is taken of the slope of the road to put a large room under the front part of the church, which will also have a classroom and cloakroom in connection with it. The whole of the internal fittings are in pitch pine, and the rostrum is a very handsome structure, on a central pedestal and the sides supported with columns. The gallery front is elaborately treated, also the choir front to match. The pews have solid ends With reclining backs with modern arrangement of book boards, etc. The church will seat a congregation of 900 persons, and the cost of the scheme, including the architect's fees, will be about £6,200.

Centenary BookletBuck's Road Methodist Church Jubilee Handbook 1950

Salisbury Street Wesleyan Methodist Church 1891

Salisbury Street

North Douglas was a rapidly increasing area in the late 19th Century - poorly 'missioned' at the time. A society was formed based on Thomas Bridson's parlour in Grafton Street and then moved to a loft above 27 Falcon Street. On Friday 14th August 1885 the 'Salisbury Street Wesleyan Methodist Temporary Iron Mission Chapel' was opened on the present site. It was hoped to erect a more permanent building but money was tight; the plans for such were referred back to the architects, Mssrs Clarke and Davidson, with an eye to saving some £800. Debate then ensued as to whether a more prominent site on Broadway ought to be considered. However it was decided to rebuild on the Salisbury site and work started in May 1891 with the building opening in October 1891.

Grid Reference SC379765


The society had considerable financial problems, and attempted to solve some of these by offering to let the building to Douglas School committee for use as a day school (which offer was taken up though no formal agreement seems to have been signed). However by 1897 they were clear of debt and with the premises too small it was decided to build an extension, started in April 1904 and opening October that year.

Closed end of 2009.

Centenary BookletSalisbury Street Methodist Church Centenary 1985

Esplanade Chapel


Now a takeaway restaurant

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Marathon Road c.1901

Opened in rented rooms in the one time Victoria College - later expanded to take over the whole premises until clousure in 1977 - the story is very well told by Alan Quirk.

Methodist New Connexion, Derby Road, 1890

Redferns Mission

For some five years prior the MNC met at 1 Atholl Street (at one time St Xavier's RC church!). Numbers were always small and it required much debate for the MNC conference to agree to mission the Island. See report in MMHSoc No17. Architect J. W. Firth, Oldham and builder Wm Kelly. Closed 1914 and sold to St Thomas's for use as church hall; became the Red Cross centre which closed in 2008. In July 2011 the Manx National Youth Band purchased the building, with the ground floor being used as a permanent rehearsal venue and the upper floor available for other musical and cultural groups to use on an ad hoc basis.

The IoM Examiner of 19 July 1890 carried an extended description of the opening on the previous Sunday - "the new church has been built from the design of Mr W Firth, architect, Oldham. It is a gothic style of architecture, and intended to accomodate about 500 people. The church is built of Glenfaba brick, relieved by Ruabon bricks and tera cotta, having stone tracery windows in front elevations, along with a spire which is rapidly approaching completion, and which will make this building one of the hansomest of its kind in the Island. The interior is composed of nave, gallery, and transcepts, the latter being separated from the nave by moveable pitch pine screens, filled in with cathedral tinted glass, and can be thrown open, if needed, for congregational purposes. The whole of the seating and pulpit is of prepared selected pitch pine, and presents a very neat and pleasing appearance."

One of the small rooms was intended for use as a pipe-organ chamber -"the total cost of the building, including a most eligible site of land, on which to erect a school will be about £2,500." The builder was Mr W. Kelly of Douglas.

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Pulrose Methodist Church, 1928



Grid Reference SC364755


Willaston Methodist Church

Willaston Methodist Church

Completed 1960 to serve housing estate

Grid Reference SC379779


General References

Curry covers the PM missioning of Douglas and the foundation of Wellington St. and Loch Parade chapels.
Black and white engravings are from Johnson's Illustrated Isle of Man Guide 1850.
Other history from:
Douglas Centenary 1996
S.Slack Streets of Douglas - Old and New Manx Experience (ISBN 1-873120-27-3) 1996

 Chapel Index


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 1999