September 12, 1870
Following the custom observed in some part of the country, and more especially in South Staffordshire, the members of the Methodist New Connexion body in Liverpool laid the memorial stone of a new place of worship yesterday afternoon in Breckfield-road North, at the corner of St. Domingo Vale.
The interesting proceedings were delayed for more than half-an-hour on account of the heavy rain which at three o’clock poured down in torrents. The ceremony was witnessed by a large number of persons.
Subjoined is the architect’s description of the building, which is in a very forward state: –
“The style of architecture adopted for the new chapel is the geometrical Gothic of the 13th century. The exterior is faced with dressings of Stourton stone to windows, doorways, plinths and strings.
“The west front has a lofty gable, pierced with a large three-light window, the head being filled with beautiful tracery. On either side of this window is a single-light window, with the head filled in with tracery. These windows it is proposed to fill with stained glass. Under these windows is the principal entrance to the chapel.
“Another entrance is also provided in the front, which leads to the gallery of the chapel, as well as through a lobby into the body of the chapel. At the north-west corner of the chapel is a tower in two stages, in which is an entrance from the side street to the body of the chapel as well as to the gallery.
“The tower is surmounted by an octagon lantern and spire rising to the height of 120 feet from the ground. Each entrance to the chapel has a double set of doors to prevent draught. The chapel comprises two side galleries and one end gallery; a gallery behind the pulpit is also provided for an organ and choir. The side elevation of the chapel is divided into bays by means of large buttresses; in each bay is a two light window filled in with quatrefoil, &c.
“The roof of the chapel is of a novel construction, formed of open laminated arched ribs, springing from stone corbels, and spanning the whole width of the chapel, thus obviating the objectionable necessity for piers and archers, yet producing an interior at once characteristic of a place of Christian worship, and pleasing in its effect, and the acoustic properties will no doubt be exceedingly good.
“The whole of the spars will be dressed, and ceiling across at the level of the collar beams. The seats will be of uniform character throughout, and the whole will be stained and varnished. The pulpit will be of pitch-pine, and of good design.
“On a level with the chapel floor, and communicating direct with the chapel, is the schoolroom, capable of accommodating 300 children. The schoolroom has an open timber roof, and is well lighted by large handsome windows, and by star-lights suspended from the ceiling.
“Under this school room are an infants’ school-room and three class rooms, with commodious entrances from the street. Underneath the vestry, which is under the orchestra, is a kitchen, fitted up with copper, &c. The chapel it is proposed to warm by means of hot water; it will be lighted by two large handsome coronas, with brackets under the gallery.”
The total cost, including tower, spire, and boundary walls will be about £4,000. The whole of the works are being carried out from the design and under the superintendence or Messrs. Hill and Swann, architects, Leeds and Sheffield. The contractor is Mr Cheetham, joiner and builder, Watmough-street, Everton. The large school-room was opened for religious worship and instruction at the latter end of May, and both congregation and school are progressing satisfactorily.
After devotional exercises the Rev. J. Hudston, superintendent of the district, present Mr. Joseph Wade with a beautiful silver trowel and a mahogany mallet, and, at the same time requested him to perform the ceremony of laying the stone.
Mr. Wade then went through the usual formalities, and having declared the stone well and truly laid, proceeded to address the assemblage. He said he felt great pleasure in being called upon to lay the memorial stone of that building, which he regarded as another standard erected and another banner unfurled for the Redeemer’s Kingdom, with the inscription upon it, “Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, and good will to men.”
If ever there was a time when those things were wanted, surely it was the present. When they looked abroad, and that too not far from home, and saw the destruction and desolation that were going on, and the misery and wretchedness resulted therefrom, they would agree with him that there was something seriously wrong, and that the nations which were now at war required to be taught those peaceful and glorious principles which they were met that day to promote.
Those nations – the foremost on the earth, the patterns to all other nations so far as civilisation, arts, science, and learning were concerned – were found at the present moment destroying one another as fast as they could. There must be something wrong, or those things could not be. They all knew that it was righteousness which exalteth a nation, and that sin was a reproach to any nation.
He hoped that the terrible war would soon come to an end to the glory of God and to the promotion of the well-being of mankind. They were met that day, as Methodists, and it was said that Methodism was Christianity in earnest. That he believed himself, and he hoped those who would worship in the building about to be erected would prove themselves worthy sons of honoured fathers; that they would show the neighbourhood in which the chapel was situated that it was their intention to adopt Methodistic principles, and do all they could to promote the welfare of the locality. Their object in coming there was not to trespass upon any other sect, not to proselytise, but to gather up all the stray ones and all who were destitute of a spiritual home; and he trusted they would never rest until they had filled the place with those who were bound for a better country. In conclusion, he expressed his thanks for the trowel which had been presented to him that day.
Rev. J. Hudston afterwards addressed the company. In the course of his remarks, he said that they happened to be in a locality, which had rather a singular name – St. Domingo. St. Domingo pit, he understood, was as well-known as any locality in Liverpool. Some of their friends thought that in selecting that neighbourhood for the chapel it would be well to associate the name of the district with it, and it had actually come to be called St. Domingo chapel and St. Domingo schools.
Now that had given rise to a little pleasantry, and he had been asked by those who believed in saints where the name of St. Domingo was to be found, where he lived, and what time (laughter). He did not profess to be sufficiently up in that part of ecclesiastical lore to answer the question. (A voice. – St. Dominic.)
All he knew was that they had nothing to do with any saints; they did not believe in any, except those who were made saints by the truth and grace of God living in their hearts, and being exemplified in their lives.
He hoped that none of the odium which belonged to St. Domingo could be attracted to their chapel.
He then proceeded to say that they were met that day as Protestants, as Protestant Dissenters, as Protestant dissenters of the Methodist persuasion, and as Methodists of the New Connexion. They were twitted a good deal about the latter name, and were told that it was a connexion which has recently been formed. That, however, was not so, for they came into existence in 1797, and the only difference between the, and the parent body was that they admitted laymen into their conferences, while the conferences of the Wesleyan Connexion consisted exclusively of ministers. That was the only distinction there was between them. And he believed it was a distinction that would not last very long.
He felt confident he should live to see the day when that distinction would be obliterated, and when with regard to all their principles, usages, and doctrinal views they would be really one (hear, hear). Referring to the war the rev. gentleman said he thought it a great scandal to Christianity that two nations calling themselves Christians should be employed in destroying each other’s lives. But he did not blame the people; the great responsibility, he thought, rested with those who were their religious teachers. If they had been taught differently he thought they would have acted differently.
In conclusion, he appealed to the assemblage to give not only their prayers and sympathies, but also their pecuniary aid, in the work in which they were that day engaged.
The proceedings terminated with prayer and the benediction.
In the evening a tea meeting was held in the school room, after which addresses were delivered by Revs. E.J. Baxter, W.J. Townsend, J. Hudston, J.L. Fox, and other gentlemen.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 13, 1870)