Our History

Birdwell Methodist Church – A Brief History from 1823
A chapel was built on the site of the old schoolroom on Chapel Street, Birdwell, in July of 1823. Due to increased numbers, Mr. George Robinson later erected a new building at the cost of £400. The previous church then became the schoolroom.
In 1885/6, a new schoolroom was erected on the site of the church, to accommodate 250 scholars, a Young Men's Class of 32, and a Primary of 40 youngsters.
The last church on Chapel Street was opened in 1904, costing £1,370, with seating for 400.   £750 was raised for building to commence, and further fund-raising continued until in 1918 when only £150 was left to raise, special events were held to reach the total.
Good Shepherd stained-glass windowThe Good Shepherd stained-glass window was installed to the memory of Thomas Firth, and was a feature of Birdwell Methodist Church.   The central panel of this window is now inserted in a rear-illuminated case and displayed in the new church on Sheffield Road. (Photo: left)
In 1918, Mr J T Wood of Sheffield gave an oak Communion Rail and Pulpit.   Another feature of the building was the wooden underdrawn ceiling. This was done in 1923 at the cost of £30. In 1996 the schoolroom suffered severe damage due to subsidence, and became unsafe to use. It was closed immediately, and repairs being impossible it was demolished. In order to continue with the usual activities (Guides, Brownies, and others) which require the use of a hall, the brave decision was made to remove the pews from the church and make it into a multi-purpose building. The Ministers' vestry was converted into a new kitchen, and a new doorway was knocked through from the church into the Wesley Room for additional access.
Chapel Street Church circa 1996
Conacher Organ with organist Mr Stanley Green
At the outset, the music was provided by three violins and one 'cello, but in 1875 a one-manual pipe organ was installed. This instrument came from Ebenezer chapel. It was replaced a few years later with an American organ.   In 1909 a second-hand organ was acquired with two-manuals, organ experts may wish to note that this was operated by a tracker action.
In recent years the church was well-served by a two-manual instrument, which was manufactured by Conachers, the organ builders in Huddersfield. It was sold to the organist of Bradford Cathedral, and if suitable was to be installed in the Cathedral Song Room after refurbishment.  The photo shows Mr Stanley Green at the Conacher organ.
Golden Jubillee photo at Chapel Street 

Sunday School Anniversary Programme cover 1954  

Chapel Street Sunday School Anniversary

Prrogramme front, May 16th 1954

New Building – Sheffield Road
Cutting the first sod
The new building on Sheffield Road, Birdwell was opened on 27th March 2004.  Compensation for subsidence damage to the church building on Chapel Street was sought from the Coal Authority, and one condition of the settlement of the action was that a new building would have to be built on a different site. The vision for a new church on Sheffield Road came following the closure of the former Birdwell library; the church acquired the site - and the small engineering works behind for a car park.    This gave sufficient room for our lovely new church.   The beautiful stained glass window in the sancturary was designed and made by John Dean, of Wakefield, and is admired by our many visitors and congregation.  (See picture on homepage).  Music in the new church is provided by a Yamaha Clavinova.  The instrument is connected through the church amplification system.  
Yamaha Clavinova photo
Yamaha Clavinova
The church is equipped with a video projection system, which allows videos and hymn/song words to be projected onto a screen at the front of the church.  The sound system also has the facility to relay services and events through into the hall.  It is hoped to provide a video link into the hall in the next few months, to cater for large events such as weddings and funerals where overflow facilities may be required.
Wooden Cross carved by Harry Emson
The wooden cross in the Upper Room was made and carved by the late Harry Emson, a member of Hoyland Common Methodist Church.  This cross was presented to Birdwell on the closure of the Hoyand Common church, and hung in the old church on Chapel Street, Birdwell until the move to our new building on Sheffield Road in 2004.
The ground floor of the building was redecorated in January 2011.
Laying Foundation Stone at new church
Rev Michael Jarrett, Vicar of St Mary's, Worsbrough; Mr Tony Utley, Treasurer;
Rev Bob Whitfield, Minister of Birdwell Methodist Church in 2004;
Mrs Winnie Mellor, (our oldest member in 2004), laying the foundation stone for the new church.
Barnsley Independent newspaper article



Our History
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