MEMBERS of Barnoldswick’s last remaining Victorian chapel have held a special service to celebrate the completion of a six-figure revamp.
The mission to renovate the 122-year-old Independent Methodist Church, in Walmsgate, started 12 years ago.
Now church members and volunteers, backed by a £250,000 grant from English Heritage, have applied the finishing touches to the grade II listed building and hosted a special Songs of Praise style service to usher in a new era.
The church, a member of the Colne and Nelson Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches, initially refused to apply for lottery funding because of its stance against gambling.
But after two years of applications it was finally given substantial backing in 2004 and topped up the English Heritage grant with contributions from its own congregation.
The church, built in 1892, had not been renovated since the 1950s.
Jeffrey Pearson, church president, said: “Since then it fell into disrepair and serious dry rot problems meant the building was at risk. When we applied to have the building demolished, we found out the council had given it grade II listing, but they never told us.”
Phase one of the project saw dry rot repaired in the roof and ceiling, while the second phase focused on re-pointing the building’s exterior and re-panelling the interior. These were completed by 2011 but Mr Pearson said the third phase, which involved extensive interior redecoration, was ‘arduous’ because the church ‘was a mess inside’.
He added: “We’ve made the building structurally sound, and church members, friends and volunteers worked together to finish off the decorating.
“We’re very thankful for all the help and the building looks lovely inside.”
The church, which can seat up to 750 people, attracts an average of 45 worshippers every Sunday.