History of Ludlow Methodist Church
Ludlow Methodists have a particular fondness for Charles Wesley. Methodism 'was born in song' and Charles was its poet and 'sweet singer'. In 1749 Charles married Sarah Gwynne whom he had met on his way to Ireland in 1747 and whose family came from Garth in Breconshire. After the wedding her father Marmaduke took a house in Broad Street, Ludlow just across the road from our church before returning to Garth two years later. As we eat our meal in the Wesley's cafe we have created we are able to see the blue plaque which commemorates Charles Wesley's connection with Broad Street.
Within two hundred years of Methodism in Ludlow there have been two Primitive Methodist chapels on one site, with two further chapels in the New Road area, plus two Wesleyan chapels. Of those six buildings, all of which still exist, only Broad Street chapel remains as a place of worship. When Broad Street chapel was built in 1879 it replaced a large house which had originally belonged to the Salwey family. Prior to this it was the Crown Inn which, in 1832, was graced by a visit from the young Princess Victoria.
In 1893 it was decided that all debts should be paid and the chapel renovated within two years. Both these aims were achieved. The changes made at that time created the chapel furnishings that lasted until 2005 when the most recent renovation was carried out, and as a result of these alterations we are now closer to the size and appearance of the original 1879 building.
At the time of the plans being drawn for the recent renovation it was decided that the work was to progress in two stages, with the church family continuing to use the building for as long as possible. To achieve this, a temporary kitchen was constructed in the chapel itself. The schoolrooms were finally cleared on Easter Monday 2005 for the contractors to begin the next day. For some weeks afterwards the Sunday School met in the porch!
Although still in use, the chapel was gradually stripped. The last service in the 'old' building was conducted by the Chairman of the District on 3rd July, 2005, when the organ, pulpit and most of the pews had already gone. The organ had been sold to serve a Roman Catholic church in Dijon, in France, and the pews sold off to church members, family and friends.
The Broad Street Church which has been created from the old chapel offers full disabled access from the street into Wesley's (the ecumenical cafe) at the front of the building. This has small tables in the central section with an accessible toilet and fully fitted kitchen on one side and vestry and office on the other.
Stairs lead up to the Zion Room which looks down into the worship area. The room contains a communion table and chairs and a model of a Zion Chapel. The room can accommodate about 50 people. It has an audio link with the chapel and an independent audio loop. There is an accessible toilet and washing up facilities fitted into one of the built-in cupboards. Glass doors lead to the two chapel side galleries.
On the ground floor, the worship area, which seats about 130, can be clearly seen through the folding glass screen at the back of Wesley's. There is a dais with removable communion rails. Over all is a large cross made by a local craftsman. There is a new piano, an Allen organ, a sound system and audio loop.
At the rear of the chapel there is a new porch which leads into a corridor from which there are stairs to the upper floor. On the groundfloor there is a room which has its own galley kitchen. There are two accessible toilets and a lift serving the upper floor and chapel gallery.
Upstairs there are two rooms, the smaller of which has its own kitchen facilities.
The new Broad Street Church was first used for morning worship on 19th February, 2006.