Over 100 years of history
Monks Road Methodist Church traces its history back to 1907, when trustees of the old Wesley Chapel on Clasketgate decided to purchase land on Walmer Street. There was an understanding of the need to provide a place for the East End of Lincoln as building work continued along Monks Road and the community grew.
The land that the church now stands on was purchased almost immediately, however financial strain on the circuit delayed construction for some time. This did not hamper the vision though, and building began in 1913. The original plans included a church and two schoolrooms, and by 1914 the first stage was completed.
On 24th June 1914, the upper floor of this first stage of the building work was opened as a church, and this was known as “the church of the upper room”. Industrial depression in the ’30s, World War II, and the building restrictions that followed this, made it impossible to continue work on the second stage of the project for many years. However faith remained that it would one day be completed in full, and in 1935 the Monks Road Methodist Church Building Fund was opened with £6.15s.0d
Whilst the building project may have been hindered by circumstance, the church itself went from strength to strength. In 1936 it was noted that, “its choir is rapidly winning a deservedly fine reputation in the city and district, and a band of keen people gives much promise for the future.” And in 1938 a pipe organ was added to the church. This was dismantled from a private home and rebuilt in the church by Ted and Frank Rawding, who used their spare time over an entire Winter to do so.
There was an active social side to the church as well, often meeting in a wooden hut at the side of the building. The Sunday School took part in an annual Whit Monday Procession, decorating a float and walking behind it from the city to the arboretum. And a Senior Department met on a Sunday afternoon, putting on two musicals (“The Magic Hyacinth” and “Apple Tree Farm”) which were written and produced by Mr and Mrs Corthorn.
Other groups which met included: Ladies Class, for devotional study; The Women’s Fellowship (initially called The Sisterhood); The Wesley Guild, which catered for all ages; Men’s Circle, who alongside devotional study also fielded a cricket team; and The Wives and Mothers Circle, which continues to exist to this day under the new name Women’s Circle.
In 1960, the old central church affectionately known as “Big Wesley” was closed, and £10,000 was generously donated to The Monks Road Methodist Church Building Fund. This enabled the church to move towards finally completing the building, and in 1961 the first stone was laid by Mr J. R. Halkes, who was the only surviving member of the Wesley Trust that had initiated the project in 1907.
On 1st September 1962 the new church was opened in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Lincoln. The opening and dedication ceremony was followed by a buffet lunch in both of the school rooms, with an evening programme looking back at the history of the church. Monks Road residents who had previously worshipped at Big Wesley joined those who were already members of Monks Road Methodist Church, merging into one happy church family.
The vision that had started over half a decade previously had finally become a reality, thanks to the dedication, faith, and hard work of the Monks Road community. You can find out more about the history of our church in the booklets below, simply click on the image to open the PDF files.