Wesleyan Methodist Church, Charles Street, Cardiff

Wesleyan Methodist Central Hall stood at the corner of Charles Street and Bridge Street, Cardiff.  The foundation stone was laid on 16 July 1849 by Alderman David Lewis, Mayor of Cardiff, who was also a church member.  Designed by James Wilson of Bath, its Gothic style was, at the time, unusual for a nonconformist building in Wales.  The chapel opened on 25 September 1850.

On 12 April 1895, the building was destroyed by a fire which broke out shortly after the end of that day’s Good Friday devotions.  Just over three months later, on 24 July, building plans were approved for a new church designed by Jones, Richards and Budgen of Cardiff, and reconstruction went ahead, largely on the same footprint as the original building.

D1093-2-21 to 44 029 Wesleyan Charles Street levelled

The chapel continued to serve Cardiff’s Methodists during the first four decades of the twentieth century.  The last marriage to be registered there was on 5 June 1937 and it seems likely that the chapel closed shortly afterwards.  Local directories suggest that the building was used, in the late 1940s, by the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Women’s Department).  During the 1950s, it housed the Supplies Department of the Welsh Regional Hospital Board and also a Clothing Depot for the Women’s Voluntary Service.  By the 1960s, though, it appears to have been unoccupied.  Later, it was used for a time by Welsh National Opera before demolition in the mid-1980s.

The site is now occupied by a modern building which serves as the Cardiff Jobcentre.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

 

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Chapel Records

Chapels have played a significant part in the recent history of Glamorgan.  Amongst our 75 75th accessions are the records of the Mid Glamorgan Mission of the Wesleyan Methodist Church (1998/75), and those of Seion Baptist Chapel, Cwmaman, Aberdare (2013/75).  These are just two of many chapel archives held with us.

Chapel records can include registers of baptisms, marriages and burials; membership records; annual reports; minutes of meetings; accounts; building plans; Sunday school records; photographs; records of chapel societies such as the Band of Hope… the list goes on and on.

Glamorgan Archives also holds the Mid Glamorgan Chapel Survey (ref.: MGCC/CS).  Compiled by the Planning Department of Mid Glamorgan County Council during the 1970s, the survey details every chapel in the Mid Glamorgan area at that time, and includes survey forms, front elevation drawings and plans of the buildings, brief histories and photographs of the chapel, along with additional notes and correspondence relating to the survey.

Bethania Baptist Chapel, Blaengarw

Bethania Baptist Chapel, Blaengarw

Many chapels across south Wales have closed in recent years as congregations dwindle.  Unfortunately, their records don’t always reach us here at Glamorgan Archives.  If you are involved in a local chapel – be it a thriving cause or one that is struggling – please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and guidance on the preservation of your documentary heritage.