Kingsfold Methodist Church

Methodistism In The Past


'Wesleyan Home Missions Gospel Car'.

Photographer  Sam Truscott from St Enoder Newquay Cornwall. The building may be Summercourt Wesleyan Chapel which is now a private house.

Some general information about the history of Wesleyan Home Missions Gospel Cars:

The man behind the introduction of Gospel Cars into Wesleyan Methodism from the mid-1880s was Thomas Champness, editor of the 'Joyful News' Methodist newspaper.

The first Gospel Car used by the Wesleyans was dedicated at Selby, Yorkshire and cost £100. It would be used by two preachers to reach rural populations who were often now overlooked by the Christian Church because of the vast needs of the population in the rapidly expanding towns.

Champness appealed for money for existing and also for holiday caravans, as he set out to launch a fleet to rural England. The Church Army, the Primitive Methodists, and smaller independent evangelistic groups also warmed to the idea of mobile missionaries, and by the turn of the century there were about one hundred of these 'Gospel Cars' or 'Mission Vans' on the road.

It was soon recognised that specific opportunity presented itself in areas where the public met for other purposes such as market places, fair grounds etc or by the seaside. There were also groups of 'travellers' on land and canals who lived partly outside of normal society.

Finally some Gospel Cars also tackled the urban slums. The church or the 'central hall' might not be very far away in terms of physical distance, but it was a 'world apart' to some of those who lived in squalor.

The organisation of the Wesleyan Gospel Cars was done originally by Thomas Champness from Rochdale, but by 1904 the Gospel Car work and the 58 evangelists associated with them were organised from Cliff College, situated in the outskirts of the village of Calver in the Peak District National Park. under the Rev Thomas Cook as principal.

The First World War led to a swift decline of the horse drawn Gospel Car. In 1925 a motorised Gospel Car was described as doing good work, and 'Trek Teams' moving a cart on foot were also introduced.

Later in the 20th Century (late 1940's-1950's) the Methodist Church would use caravans staffed by two deaconesses, and also a mobile cinema van.

All rights to this photograph belong to Champness Hall Church

The Blue Plaque

This hall bears the name of Thomas Champness (1832-1905), a Methodist minister and pioneer in lay training and community projects. His friend, Charles Heap J.P. founded the ‘Rochdale Mission’ which was housed in this building, so named in commemoration of Champness. Regular worship sessions were held in the Art Deco style auditorium, the centrepiece of the hall.

All rights to this photograph belong to Champness Hall Church

Champness Hall Church.
Drake Street.  Rochdale

Click for Champness Hall Church Website

All rights to this photograph belong to Cliff College

Cliff College
Peak District National Park

Click for Cliff College website


Proposed Methodist Church & School
Kings Fold Estate Penwortham early 1960's

Photographed by Arthur Winter of Preston


The proposed design was intended as our church in the future – and was never built as such. You will note that just the middle bit is much as it is today.

This was the idea of our then minister, the Rev George Artingstall, who was a big ideas man, and thought (or hoped) that the church would grow much bigger than it did.

It was he who had an architect do this drawing in the early 1960s.

Our present place was built in 1964 and was supposed to go on to these big things, but never did.

George Artingstall left in 1965, just one year after it opened. And the Methodist Church did not grow, either here or nationally, as George thought it would.

When we did our big upgrade in 1997 we asked the congregation if they wanted to turn the church round, so we could make it more like this drawing, but they said no.

So it was developed as you see it today.

The Tower Room, is also not as it was suggested. It was built in the 1960s as a flat roof because that was the cheapest at that time and by 1997 they decided to top it off properly with a pitched roof, but a biggy like the drawing would have been quite inappropriate now.

Arthur Winter the Photographer

Arthur Winter was a top photographer in Preston round about 1960.  He had a studio on the corner of Winckley Street and also on Fishergate.

As far as we can tell, it was his son Graeme who was running the business by then but he still used his dad’s name.  Local knowledge thinks that he eventually went to live in North Wales.

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