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Tyne and Wear HER(7614): Birtley, Station Lane, Primitive Methodist Church and hall - Details

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Birtley, Station Lane, Primitive Methodist Church and hall



Religious Ritual and Funerary

Nonconformist Chapel

Methodist Chapel

Early Modern


Extant Building

The Birtley "Ranters" or Primitive Methodists first met in Simpson's Yard near St. John's Church. Their first chapel was built in Orchard Street in 1867 at a cost of £700. The second chapel, this one, was built in Station Road at a cost of over £3000. A minister's house was added in 1904 and an organ installed in 1906. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE This highly substantial church and hall is a good example of ecclesiastical architecture on the cusp of the Edwardian era. It is quite remarkable, as a chapel for the Primitive Methodists) (theoretically a simple faith) with great pretensions to an eccentric gothic style. This is most obviously and idiosyncratically expressed in the amazing gargoyles to the slender corner spire – traditionally a means of rainwater distribution but here apparently used purely for decorative purposes. Constructed principally in cyclopean rusticated sandstone (seen on contemporary buildings in the area) with ashlar details, it is roofed in slate with looped terracotta ridge tiles, water tables and kneelers. The staged spire alternates rusticated and ashlar levels, the latter featuring blind lancets, and a profusion of fenestration is embellished by stained glass. A large, striking window punctuates the south elevation with distinctive ‘nutcracker’ tracery, and a substantial double porch engages the visitor with double gable and 2 attractive diagonally battened timber doors. The church hall to the west is gabled with a feature oculus, echoed to the adjacent gable of the church, and the stained glass lancets are here replaced with square-headed sashes. A war memorial plaque is engraved to this side also, with elaborately carved lion and lamb heads with what appears to be a cornucopia beneath. It was sculpted by W Pickering, who was at Rutherford College during the war and had been working on the piece as a memorial tablet, but later he was unfortunately himself killed. MATERIALS Sandstone, slate, stained glass ARCHITECT Unknown DATES 1899 (inscription) LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List X20/LL/249; G. Nairn and D. Rand, 1997, Images of England - Birtley, p 74; North East War Memorials Project website (

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