Upper Brook Street Chapel, Manchester

Upper Brook Street Chapel, Manchester

Infobox religious building
building_name = Upper Brook Street Chapel
infobox_width = 260px

image_size = 250px
caption = The chapel in March 2008
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location = Upper Brook Street, Manchester, England
geo = coord|53|28|9.44|N|2|13|53.28|W|display=inline,title
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religious_affiliation = Unitarian, then Baptist, then Jehovah's Witness, currently Islamic
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district = Chorlton-on-Medlock
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architecture = yes
architect = Sir Charles Barry
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architecture_style = Neogothic
facade_direction =
groundbreaking = 1837
year_completed = 1839
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The Upper Brook Street Chapel, also known as the Islamic Academy, the Unitarian Chapel and the Welsh Baptist Chapel, is a former chapel with an attached Sunday School on the east side of Upper Brook Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, England at grid reference gbmappingsmall|SJ846970 (address: 19 Chorlton Terrace, Brunswick, Manchester, M13 9AJ).cite web | url=http://www.salaam.co.uk/mosques/searchmosque.php?orgcode=10324 | title=Islamic Academy of Manchester | publisher=Salaam.co.uk | accessdate=2008-03-16] It is said to be the first neogothic Nonconformist chapel, having been constructed between 1837 and 1839.cite web | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/Details/Default.aspx?id=457776 | title=Images of England: Number 457776 | publisher=English Heritage | accessdate=2008-03-16] A listed building since 3 October 1974 (currently Grade II*), it is owned by Manchester City Council and is on the Buildings at Risk Register, rated as "very bad". It was partially demolished in 2006.cite news | url=http://www.metronews.co.uk/news/s/601673_vulnerable_chapel_faces_demolition_ | title=`Vulnerable' chapel faces demolition | first=Paul R | last=Taylor | date=16 February 2006 | publisher=Manchester Evening News | accessdate=2008-03-16] cite web | url=http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/ConBar.6029 | title=Buildings at Risk: Former Welsh Baptist Chapel | publisher=English Heritage | accessdate=2008-03-16


The chapel was designed by Sir Charles Barry, shortly before he designed the Palace of Westminster. It was constructed between 1837 and 1839 out of sandstone, with a slate roof. It is in English neogothic style. The building has seven narrow bays, with buttresses and a lancet in each bay. The west end has a giant moulded archway, with an arched doorway at the ground floor with a window above. On the east end there is a rose window. The corners are square, with pinnacles. The inside of the chapel had galleries on three sides, and a ribbed, vaulted ceiling. The attached two-storey Sunday School is in the same style as the chapel, and has a triple-gabled north side, with large arched windows on the first floor. It also has a canted apse on the west end, and a lean-to porch.

The building marked a charge in the style of Nonconformist worship locations. Previously these were mostly built with brick, and were plain, with the grander tending towards Greek architecture. Said to be the first neogothic Nonconformist chapel, Manchester's Unitarian Chapel was preceded by the Congregationalist's Congregation Chapel in March, Cambridgeshire,cite web | url=http://www.rootsweb.com/~engcam/places/march.htm | title=March, Cambridgeshire - Extract from Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1929 | accessdate=2008-03-17] which was constructed in 1836 and is also in the neogothic style. Chapels built following the construction of these two resembled parish churches more than the former style.cite book | title=A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People?: England 1783-1846 | first=Boyd | last=Hilton | year=2006 | publisher=Oxford University Press | id=ISBN 0198228309 | pages=page 529]

Parts of the chapel were demolished at the start of 2006cite news | url=http://www.theasiannews.co.uk/news/s/508/508269_vandalism__muslim_charge_against_council_wreckers.html | title=‘Vandalism’ - Muslim charge against council ‘wreckers’ | publisher=Manchester Evening News - Asian News | date=18 January 2006 | accessdate=2008-03-16] on safety grounds, with scaffolding holding up some other sections. As of March 2008 the building has very little roof, with the walls, floors and ceilings in poor condition. The annex was also declared unsafe, but has since been reoccupied. A spokesperson for Manchester City Council has said that "The Welsh Baptist Chapel is in poor condition due to the low standard of its original construction. It has been empty for some years while attempts have been made to achieve a sympathetic redevelopment of the site and secure the building's long-term future." An unsuccessful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding to repair the building was made by the Islamic Academy in 2003. In 2001 and 2005 the City Council commissioned structural advice regarding the building, prior to removing most of the roof. The building is in need of £500,000 for emergency repairs, as well as an extra £700,000 to make it fully functional.cite news | url=http://www.theasiannews.co.uk/news/s/491/491294_homeless.html | title=Homeless | publisher=Manchester Evening News - Asian News | first=Steve | last=Hammond | date=3 August 2004 | accessdate=2008-03-16]


The chapel replaced the Mosley Street Chapel (built 1789cite journal | title=A "Still, Small Voice" from the Pulpit: Religion and the Creation of Social Morality in Manchester, 1820-1850 | first=Howard M. | last=Wach | journal=The Journal of Modern History | volume=63 | month=September | year=1991 | pages=425–456 | url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-2801%28199109%2963%3A3%3C425%3AA%22SVFT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-3 | doi=10.1086/244351 ] , demolished 1836cite journal | first=F. H. Amphlett | last=Micklewright | title=A Sidelight on Manchester History | journal=Notes and Queries | year=1943 | volume=184 | pages=214–216 | doi=10.1093/nq/184.8.216 | publisher=Oxford University Press] ) upon its completion for baptisms, burials and marriages.cite web | url=http://www.manchester.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?categoryID=448&documentID=464&pageNumber=25 | title=Church Register List - Manchester City Centre | publisher=Manchester City Council | accessdate=2008-03-18] It was originally constructed for the Unitarians. The chapel was used for burial rites until at least 1857 (although the chapel has no graveyard), as well as baptisms until at least 1912, and marriages until at least 1916.cite web | url=http://www.manchester.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=464&pageNumber=14 | title=Church Register List - Chorlton-on-Medlock to Claughton | publisher=Manchester City Council | accessdate=2008-03-18] Ministers at the chapel include John James Tyler (until 1853), William Henry Herford (1866–70),cite web | url=http://www.unitariansocieties.org.uk/historical/ministerobit.html | title=Obituaries of Unitarian Ministers - 1900 - 2004 - index and synopsis | first=Alan | last=Ruston | accessdate=2008-03-18] Philip Wicksteed (circa 1890)cite web | url=http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/REtrevor.htm | title=John Trevor | publisher=Spartacus Educational | accessdate=2008-03-17] , John Trevor (1890–91, left to start The Labour Church)cite journal | title=John Trevor and the Labor Church Movement in England, 1891-1900 | first=Stanley | last=Pierson | journal=Church History | volume=29 | month=December | year=1960 | pages=463–478 | url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0009-6407%28196012%2929%3A4%3C463%3AJTATLC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Z | issue=4 | doi=10.2307/3161930] and Edward Walker Sealy (1910-???).

The chapel was sold in 1928 due to changes in the district, and was subsequently used as a Welsh Baptist Chapel. The chapel was then used as a Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in the early 1970s. The most recent use of both the chapel and former Sunday School was for the Islamic Academy of Manchester between 1974 and 2006, when it was used as a mosque, teaching centre and for outreach work in the Asian community. The chapel is currently vacant, with the Islamic Academy occupying the Sunday School. The building has been owned by Manchester City Council since the 1970s.cite web | url=http://www.manchester.gov.uk/site/scripts/meetings_info.php?meetingID=342&attachmentID=1582 | title=Manchester City Council - Agendas, reports and minutes | date=1 February 2006 | accessdate=2008-03-18 (section on "CC/06/13 Unitarian Chapel, Upper Brook Street, Manchester")]


ee also

*Grade II* listed buildings in Greater Manchester


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