Wolverhampton's Listed Buildings
Listing: Grade II*. 1900-1901 with late 19th century tower
to rear. By Arthur Marshall. Baroque Style.
Pevsner: A free English Early Georgian but with a hemispherical
copper dome and two facade turrets. A very uncommon design for the purpose.
Darlington Street Methodist Church: Seventy Five Years, 1901 -
1976. Published by the church, 1976. (The black and white photos on
this page are taken from this booklet by kind permission).
Comment: a very large church with an extensive range of rooms
behind it. It reflects the importance of Methodism in the town. The
green dome is a very well known landmark and is visible from many parts.
Where the listing says "Baroque Style", Pevsner says "free English Early
Georgian". Dr. John Thomas suggest "Edwardian Baroque", surely a
better classification. The use of brick and masonry for that style
might be unusual but Dr. Thomas points to such features as the
channelled masonry, the drum and block columns, the over-emphatic
keystones and other features.
The area to the south used to contain shops, offices and small
factories and, before that, the School of Art; the south facade was
never really meant to be seen but it stands up to this unintended
exposure pretty well. The area to the south is currently used as a car
park (neatly enough done, with decent railings) but is supposed to be
developed as new court houses under a PFI contract - a cause for
The old chapel, which occupied this site from
1825 to 1899.
|Early Methodist meetings in Wolverhampton were held in
a room behind the Noah's Ark Inn. In 1787 a new chapel was
built in Wheeler's Fold and was opened by John Wesley. In 1824
the foundation stone of a new and bigger chapel was laid on this
site in the then newly created Darlington Street. It was
opened on the 26th and 28th August 1825. It held up to 1,500
people and included a Sabbath School in the basement. It was
lit by gas, with three feet high gas standards at the end of each
| In 1857 the then Mayor, John Hartley, gave an
adjoining site in School Street, on which were built a Sunday School
and a Day School.
|At the end of the century it was decided to replace
the pews but it was then found that the whole building needed so
much renovation that it was better to demolish and start again.
The old chapel was closed on 28th August 1899 and the congregation
met in the Agricultural Hall.
The interior of the old
chapel in 1899, immediately before demolition.
The dome under construction.
| The new church was opened by Miss Jenks on 29th
October 1901. It was a large and imposing structure,
reflecting the general trend in nonconformist churches to upgrade
from small chapels to buildings which could, at the least, challenge
the Church of England churches.
The organ from the old chapel was rebuilt by Nicholson & Co. of
Worcester and incorporated in the new building.
|View down Darlington Street,
probably taken about 1901 when the church was opened. The
Wolverhampton Gas Company's premises are on the opposite corner on
the right and the spire of St. Mark's, Chapel Ash, can be seen in
|An early view from
School Street, showing the 1857 buildings to the rear of the
||The church was extensively refurbished in 1953 and the
work included creating cloakrooms and a crush hall inside the main
In 1975 further extensive refurbishment work was carried out.
|For many years, from the mid 1960s, the basement of
the church was used as a centre for young people, known as The
Crypt. It was popular and successful, doing much good work for
It proved impossible to continue this good work
and the basement is now used as a meeting place by many community
The interior in 1976.
||The church is still in very active use and is also
made available for inspection by visitors on open days, including,
usually, Heritage Open Days.