Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
The first Methodist chapel in the Woodhall Spa area was built in 1875 at Kirkstead, at which time the two were definitely separate. The local Methodist population pushed for a place of worship in Woodhall Spa itself and in 1898 land was purchased behind The Broadway following an anonymous donation. A small chapel and classroom was completed by 1899 but it rapidly became apparent that it was too small for the rapidly expanding town.
During 1906 a series of fundraising events were held in the town and enough money was found to begin building a new chapel. The foundation stones were laid on a “wild and wintry afternoon” on 29th January 1907 in front of “notable persons and the local Methodists” who despite terrible conditions and heavy snow persisted with their ceremony and buried a time-capsule of items under the foundations of their new building.
The building cost £4,000 although the late addition of a spire added to that costs. Everything was complete by 5th August 1907 when on a “lovely” day the new chapel was opened for worship and described as “quite an ornament to the Spa”. The chapel is certainly more ornate than St. Peter’s Church which stands across The Broadway.
During World War II the church was commandeered by the Army and the building was damaged when bombs fell in 1943. In 1949 repairs were undertaken during which time the old chapel – which still stands behind the newer one – was used.
As the 20th Century went on, however, the congregation began to drop and in 1992 the decision was made to sell the chapel, despite some protests. The local council proposed to purchase the building for a meeting hall, but local residents, concerned about the impact on their taxes, protested. All this culminated in a rather ferocious meeting which came up with no real solution. This was described locally as “The Battle of the Broadway”!
In the end the chapel was sold to a private bidder and is now used as offices for a company. Ironically, the Methodists are now back to worshipping in the original chapel from 1899!
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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