Methodism In Undercliffe

How It All Began …

In 1822 there was erected on Idle Road a building which was to be a Sunday School and Weekday School “for ever.” It cost £260-15s-1.25d.

The money was raised by Public Subscription and the building still stands today, but has long since ceased to meet the requirements of Religion or Secondary Education.

The first Methodist chapel was built in 1850, (although some records show the date as 1835), on waste land obtained from the Lord of the Manor for 999 years at an annual rent of sixpence, to be paid, each year, at the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. The cost was £760.

Idle Road building 1822

At a meeting of the Chapel Trust held on 8 October 1881, it was decided to pull down the old Chapel, which was already too small for the growing needs of the Society, and build a new one on the same site.

The stone-laying for this new Chapel took place on 4 February 1882, and the Chapel was completed and opened on 15th. September 1882. It cost £2,140 to build and would seat 650 worshippers.

Six years later a new organ was installed at a cost of £320.

This Chapel served the needs of the Community at Undercliffe until 1940, when it was found that dry-rot had seriously affected the building.

Methodist chapel 1850

Plans were then drawn up to re-construct the Chapel as a one-storied building – but when permission to build was available it was too late – the building was condemned as unsafe.

For the next ten years the Sunday School was to serve as School and Church, but on a memorable occasion in June 1952, it was unanimously decided by a meeting of the Society to build a new Church.

Messrs Wm Illingworth & Son were engaged as Architects, and plans for a Church to accommodate 300 people were finally approved.

Methodist chapel completed in 1882

The Foundation Stone was laid on 6 June 1953 by Mr Christopher Pratt in memory of his brother Mr Leonard Pratt, who for many years was Secretary of Undercliffe Sunday School.

To the Glory of God and to the Praise of His Holy Name the Church was opened by Mrs Wm Rawson and Dedicated on 16 October 1954.

The Church, the third to be built on this site, was erected during the Ministry of Reverend David Pike, who was minister from 1950 to 1955.

On 1 September 1968 the Societies of Otley Road and Undercliffe Methodist Churches united to form St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, to worship and witness, in and from, the premises of the former Undercliffe Society.

The Cross, formerly part of the Sanctuary fittings of the Otley Road Church, positioned behind the pulpit commemorates this union.

Methodist chapel dedicated in 1954