Whittleford Wesleyan Methodists

The Whittleford School & Chapel - Church Road

Thursday October 5th 1899 was described as a red letter day in the history of Whittleford Methodism, as memorial stones were laid for the new Wesleyan School Chapel. To set the scene the weather was simply perfect for such an event. The land had already been bought a while ago because of the rapid growth of population in the neighbourhood. Two years previous Mr James Randle offered a covered gateway at the side of his house 128 Haunchwood Road for evening services. Nine years before that thanks to the Midland Railway Company they used the Stockingford Railway Station's waiting room for afternoon services. Because of the actions from those concerned, they were in the position to forge on with the building of the school. The people put in charge were a Mr George Wilson (secretary) and Mr Francis R Jones (treasurer). Mr George Pike of Bedworth, contracted to the build estimated the cost including the land would be £700.  It had been decided to erect the schoolroom first with accommodation for 180 pupils, along with two class rooms and an out office at the rear. They would eventually erect the chapel facing onto Church Road (1905) (see below right)

There was attendance from the Methodist church with Rev M Thompson (circuit superintendent), Rev E Edwards (Atherstone) and Mrs A H Rogers (Edgbaston). Local men and women included Mr and Mrs Reginald Stanley, Mr and Mrs Richard Train, Mrs Bradbury, Messers W. Standley, F.R.Jones, Whitehead, W.A Longley, James Randle and Joseph Hutt. 

In total 38 bricks were laid. James Randle's daughter Florence R Randle aged 8, one of the few lucky children who had a brick laid for them. Reginald's adopted daughter Annette (16) and Margaret Stanley (18) also had a brick at a cost of £10 each. The total money raised from the ceremony was £68 2s 1d. Afterwards a tea was provided on the field opposite and were well catered for by the Whittleford ladies. Later that evening with the weather a little cold a few words were spoken by James Randle and William Standley, praising the efforts of all involved.  Francis Jones then gave the finishing financial statement from the day events Reginald Stanley had given a noble gift of £200 (£21,000 in today's money) to the pot and it in the end the figure was close to £400, leaving them just £300 to raise. Finally Rev M. Thompson and Joseph Hutt said a few words to conclude the evening. 

Photo of Stockingford station and its waiting room from warwickshirerailways.com 

The schoolrooms and chapel at the back of the current Church. On the left you can see the stones and if you look closely some of the other bricks have initials on them. (2014)

Stone laid by Miss Florence Randle, who was just eight at the time.  It must have been a special moment for the little one.

Not looking in the best state today (2014). Miss Annette Marie Stanley, Reginald adopted daughter who was a young lady of sixteen when this was laid.

Whittleford Wesleyan Church

Stone-laying ceremony 16th November 1905

The Whittleford Methodist family in just over six years had outgrown the school buildings and small chapel on Church Road. Sunday mornings and afternoons where for the children and evenings it was cleared for the adults. Various organisations where using the now cramped rooms for social and religious events. It was therefore decided to erect a Church at the front and two more classrooms to accommodate the now 50 odd members. The work had been quoted at £1000 and at the time of the stone laying ceremony they had donations to the amount of £400.

On the afternoon of Thursday 16th November, Rev F J Murrell, Mr Cleminson and G H Maggs addressed the large crowd gathered at the Chapel. Rev Murrell suggested that they proceed quickly with the ceremony as the light will soon be fading. Unfortunately a letter of apology had been sent by Mr R Stanley. He couldn't make it today due to ill health but sent a cheque for £25 (£2700 in 2016) towards the fund, which gained a round of applause. As a token of respect the trustees bought a handsome copy of the Wesley hymns they handed it over to Rev Murrell, which he agreed to pass on to Mr Stanley. Other stones were laid with the following inscriptions-

In loving memory of Edward & Joseph Hutt 

Mrs James Randle, Mr Samuel Hutt, Mrs & Mrs Joseph Hutt 

Mr James Randle, Mrs Emma Bradbury

The Sunday School, Mrs F H Briggs and In memory of 

Thomas Randle.

Another 94 bricks were laid with the initials of the layers. In the evening a public tea was held in the Stockingford School, followed by a meeting in the Stockingford Chapel and presided over by Mr D B Bates, along with trustees and officers of the Church including Mr Jesse White, Mr W Jennings and Mr Moon.

Above left- the old Whittleford Wesleyan Chapel now the Nuneaton ------- Church. Above right - Reginald's plaque one of just a few that has survived the rigours of the Stockingford wind and rain. Below centre Mrs J Hutt's plaque partly hidden by an additional box.