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TALBOT LANE - THE BUILDING HISTORY

 

THE TALBOT LANE METHODIST CHURCH  you see today is vastly different from either of the two buildings preceding it on the site. All three places of worship have had quite differing architectural styles.

 The first building was an octagonal chapel where, on several occasions, John Wesley preached to Rotherham folk. That was built in 1761 and served local needs until it was demolished in 1806 and replaced by a much larger, more robust chapel a year later. It was built of red sandstone from a local quarry, possibly from somewhere near where Wilfrid Street now runs, and the rest from another quarry in the present-day Quarry Hill area. It was in Classical style, having an imposing series of columns topped by a pediment. In the years following, congregations grew so large that extensions and adaptations took place in the 1830s and 1850s.

 A tragic fire completely destroyed the Talbot Lane Chapel in 1901 and it was to the eternal credit of many people that the building you see today was designed, constructed and paid for within two years of the fire. So, what you see today immediately opposite Rotherham Town Hall, is a church in neo-Gothic style, which has been described with much justification, as "a gem of Methodist architecture". The woodwork is oak and pitch pine, and the west window is one of South Yorkshire’s best examples of stained glass with a religious theme.

sketch of tl

History of the site page will tell you a little more about the previous buildings on this site, stretching from a small chapel to today’s large building, housing not only a place of worship but also a community resource centre, The TALBOT LANE CENTRE. 

friendship house

In November 2004, the building was closed for a major refurbishment, which included the installation of a lift and disabled toilets. Meeting rooms and offices were refurbished and storage facilities provided under the church. Friendship House, which had been attached to the church building, was demolished to create a car park. In April 2005, the building was re-opened as the Talbot Lane Centre, a modern reality serving as a community resource centre, along with the nearby All Saints Centre, a similar facility at Rotherham Minster. The two centres enjoy joint management as Spires Venues Ltd , an excellent example of co-operation between Methodists and Anglicans.

window

THE CHANCEL WINDOWS

 There is a remarkable financial story behind the beautiful stained glass windows at the West End of the Church.

 When the Church was built in 1902 / 1903, a design was commissioned for the main window and the two smaller ones adjacent to it. A design submitted by SAMUEL EVANS of Smethwick in the Midlands was accepted, and this man’s company then manufactured the three windows, delivered them to Talbot Lane and fitted them.

 Smethwick was an important centre for stained glass design in those days, and Evans’s studio had been in existence since 1879. There is another splendid window by Samuel Evans in the south aisle of St John’s Church in Wolverhampton, dated 1901. A heritage visitor to Talbot Lane in June 2009 told us that there was a window by Samuel Evans in the Octagonal Chapel at Heptonstall in West Yorkshire.

 The total cost for all this attractive stained glass work at Talbot Lane amounted in 1903 to £200 --- £150 for the main window and £25 each for the two smaller ones.

 Try to imagine how much all this would cost today!

 It is also remarkable that the total cost of this church in 1903 was just £10,000

New and modern Heating fitted in the Church January 2017

As many of you who read this Web Site will know, most if not all of the Churches built around 1900, had Coal Fired heating,. It was modern but not very efficient, as if left to its own devices would only warm the building area, not heat it. But then it did not matter, as 3 times a day, on every Sunday around 850 people attended Worship, and their body heat adding to the Coal Fired Heating was sufficient to keep them all warm, but not so today. The fuel was changed to Oil, and then latterly to Gas, in the 60's. With Congregation numbers regularly below 50, and having to put on the Gas Heating  on a Thursday for any benefit to be felt on Sunday, cost of gas lately became a very serious issue.

Over the last 18 months or so, we have been looking at an alternative heat source that was both efficient, and cost effective. we found it. Far Infra Red Heating. around 98% efficient and lead time up to 30 mins, ( some heat after 6 mins) and a cost that was not believable. and can be turned on just before needed and turned off when completed. To heat the Church, or at least the Central area, for 2 hours costs us around £12, Yes £12! This heating was installed by January this year, and is working well. It gives us just what we want, or need when we need it, and at a cost that is affordable, and the Church benefits, now we can use the Church itself for Services during the Winter, without worrying about the cost. Perhaps the Heating when originally installed was, in 1903, state of the art, but Far Infra Red heating is the choice for 2017. More details can be requested by calling Barrie Thomas. 01709532203 or E mail barrielthomas@outlook.com