A brief history

Built in 1835 ...

... in fields on the north edge of the growing city of Leeds, the new Oxford Place Chapel was seen as a replacement for the overcrowded chapel in Albion Street. It was soon filled to capacity, about 2000.

The building remained unchanged until the end of the 19th Century when the Revd Samuel Chadwick was appointed and the chapel became the home of Leeds Methodist Mission. (Chadwick's name is given as preacher on the noticeboard in the 1895 picture).

Chadwick added the facade on the east front and the south side of the building, and also the adjoining Chambers (with its tower) to be let as offices and provide income.

In September 1911, a fire severely damaged the interior of the chapel, which had to be refurbished with a completely new interior, pulpit, pews the lot.

During the first half of the 20th century, the Chapel continued to attract large congregations each Sunday evening, and the the mission work reached out into the poor areas close to the city centre.

By the 1950s attendance at Sunday worship had begun to decrease, and by the 1960s it was expected that the Chapel would be demolished as part of a city development scheme. This scheme included a new church on a nearby site. The imposition of a preservation order on the existing church meant that we were left with a neglected building and little money to put it right.

A scheme to sell off the many ancillary buildings in Oxford Row – caretaker's house, Sunday school rooms, vestry, and the parlour meeting room – provided enough money to restructure the inside of the church, creating the Oxford Place Centre, and to refurbish the ground floor to provide a smaller worship space and other rooms. This was completed in 1979 and the layout of the ground floor remains largely unchanged to the present day.

The final three decades of the 20th century saw the remaining space, in what had been the large Chapel and the Chambers, converted and refurbished as office space creating the Gallery (which is in the upper part of the main building) and modernising the Chambers. These offices continue to be rented to various caring agencies of doing the kind of work the people of the Oxford Place Church (as it was now known) would have undertaken had they sufficient resources.

This worked well until 2011 when decreasing income and rising costs prompted a reorganisation, and it was decided that the people of Oxford Place Church should no longer bear the burden of managing the increasing demands of the building that is the Oxford Place Centre.

In 2013 the present organisation was formally set up with the Leeds Methodist Mission as a project of the Leeds Methodist District responsible for the maintenance and use of the property. Oxford Place Church became part of the new Leeds South and Circuit, and then in 2015 part of the larger Leeds South and West circuit.

Oxford Place Church continues to worship in the Oxford Place Centre.

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This page updated 2016-07-28