Palterton Primitive Methodist Chapel, Part Two

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The rooms were divided by folding partitions that could easily be moved to the side to allow for more space.  In the classroom, that was north facing, tubular steel scaffolding was erected and wooden planks laid across.  This was always referred to as the 'platform', where the scholars were seated.

Most villagers attended at least one of the four services and some went to them all.   Not all the village children went to the chapel Sunday School and consequently took no part in the Anniversary Sundays.

Palterton Primitive Methodist Chapel Logo.
For many years, Mr. Wright of Glapwell Hill conducted the singing.

Almost without exception, this was the time when all the scholars had new clothes, so that was another reason to look forward to them.

The four services were made up of the scholars singing a few 'songs', a prayer, a short bible reading and three or four scholars reciting a presentation piece that was referred to as a 'recitation'.

Each year the recitations were different and in the weeks preceding the Anniversary, they had to be memorised by the reciters.  I do not know the origins of these recitations but assume the Primitive Methodist Chapel Circuit selected them.

One specific 'recitation' was always referred to as the"Collection Piece" and the scholar chosen to present this 'recitation' had to do so at all four services.  As he finished, the Collection Plates were passed around amongst the congregation and scholars.

It was an honour to be chosen to recite the "Collection Piece", though not every scholar wanted to be chosen nor volunteered to make any recitation.  Needless to say, I was chosen every year to make a 'recitation' - most likely my grandfather had some influence on that decision!

I remember that on two occasions I recited the "Collection Piece" and can still remember the words to one of them, titled "Timothy's Delemma."

Another feature of the Chapel calendar was the 'Chapel Trip' to some place of interest such as Wickstead Park, Trentham Gardens and Alton Towers. These excursions started around the late 1950's.

Chapel trip in 1953 to Trentham Gardens
1970. 21 May.  A special meeting of the Trustees was called in the chapel, presided over by the Rev. Francis A. Payne to discuss and consider the closure of the chapel and land.  Rev. Payne stated that the closure had been recommended to them because of the withdrawal of a minister from the circuit and the very small attendances at Palterton on Sundays.

After consideration, it was resolved the Trustees ask permission to:
(1)  discontinue services at the chapel.
(2)  sell the chapel and land.
(3)  make outline planning application to develop the site for residential development.
(4)  ask Estate Agents to value the land and property and sell by private treaty.

1970. 28 June.  Public services at the chapel were discontinued.

The three memorial tablets in the chapel were to go to Scarcliffe Methodist chapel if that society agreed.  Two now hang in the little Mission chapel in Palterton.
The third, in memory of Mark Richards, a Sunday school teacher at the Chapel and killed in the 1938 Markham Colliery disaster.  He was my uncle.  The plaque was subsequently recovered from a builders skip after the Chapel closed.

For a few years it was hung in the National Union of Mineworkers H.Q. Chesterfield.

The Mark Richards memorial plaque

The plaque is now in my posession.

1938. 1 December.  Trustees Meeting.  "It was agreed that a tablet be erected to the memory of the late Mr. Mark Richards."
1970.14 October.  At 7 p.m. that date, an annual meeting of the Trustees was held at Wesley Manse, Hilltop, Bolsover.  Five trustees attended.

The chapel and land had been valued at 700.  It was agreed to accept the best offer over valuation.  There were several interested parties.  Planning permission had been granted.

The meeting lasted 45 minutes!

After the sale of the chapel seating for 3, tables for 30 shillings the final balance was just 58..19s..11d.

Subsequently, the little wooden chapel encased in corrugated tin and full of memories over seventy one years, was demolished.

Memories cherished by generations of Palterton children.

Fortunately, chapel crockery found good homes amongst villagers, so the memories live on.

Palterton Primitive Methodist Chapel, Part Two


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Created 2 December 2001
Last updated: 1 February 2004