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INDEPENDENT  CHURCH

 

When St John's Chapel was taken down to make room for Christ Church, the materials were sold, including the bell, pulpit, pew and internal fittings, for the sum of 100, and with the addition of a new front these materials - phoenix-like - re-appeared in their former likeness, and in their new position became the chapel of the Independents. The bell which formerly summoned the members of the Church of England to divine worship performed the same duty for the body of Independents. This building was, however, soon found incompatible with the increase of members, and the present handsome Gothic structure was commenced in 1861, the foundation-stone being laid by F Crossley, Esq, MP, on the 15th of August. 

The new church was completed during the following year, is in the decorated style of Gothic architecture, and occupies a commanding position at one angle of the entrance to the new Victoria Avenue. The tower and spire at the SW angle of the building, rises to the height of 430 feet. The three principal doorways are of handsome proportions, and give access to an inner vestibule, from which the ground floor aisles, and also the gallery staircase, can be conveniently approached. Internally the church is a parallelogram 85 feet by 45 feet, exclusive of the organ recess, and the height is 40 feet inside. The span of the roof is divided by iron columns with foliated caps, by which means the centre portion rises to a considerable height, and much novelty and beauty of internal effect is produced. 

A small gallery occupies the West end of the chapel, above which a handsome five-light window appears filled in with, tracery of elaborate design. The windows throughout are of varied patterns, and those on the side elevation are surmounted by gables, which break the roof line, and prevent any monotony of the exterior design. The seats are all low and convenient, and the communion pew and pulpit are tastefully arranged in front of the organ recess, which it is proposed shall be on. the ground floor level. Two handsome brass coronas, each containing thirty lights, with subsidiary brackets, light the chapel, and the ventilation has been carefully provided for. 

The minister's and deacon's vestries conveniently adjoin the chapel at the back, and form, along with the school and class-rooms, a block of buildings in the rear which group well with the general design. Separate entrances for the boys and girls are provided, with all requisite conveniences. The chapel will conveniently seat about 700 people, and space is provided in the school for 200 children. The site is enclosed by a low fenced wall and handsome Gothic railing and gates, and the flagged footpath is five yard., in width next Victoria Park. Along the side of the building next to Victoria Park, instead of the unsightly row of demons, &c, which are usually placed upon Gothic erections of this class, are carved heads of the leading early Nonconformists, arranged in chronological order-including Wycliffe, Cromwell, Milton, Baxter, Owen, Bunyan, J Howe, Matthew Henry, King William III, Watts, Doddridge, and John Howard. 

The works involved an outlay of about 4,500, exclusive of the land, and have been well executed by Mr R Ellis, junior, the contractor, from the plan and under the superintendence of Messrs Lockwood and Mawson, architects, of Leeds and Bradford.

The hours of divine service are-on Sundays, in the morning at eleven, and in the evening at half-past six o'clock. A prayer-meeting is held on Sunday afternoons at three o'clock.

 
 
 

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