The Methodist 'tin' church in Coldharbour Lane

Now 51-53 Coldharbour Lane

Extract from 1901 map, showing Methodist chapel and position of Young's hat shop marked in pink.
Map annotated by Geoff Woodward
Pickford Bridge, looking towards corner of Westfield Road and Coldharbour Lane. The arrow points to the position of Young's Hat shop, behind the cottages.
Geoff Woodward's collection
51-53 Coldharbour Lane, Edwardian semis on site of the 'tin' church

Our Query about the ‘Tin Church’ in Coldharbour Lane attracted many comments – most of which related to the Coldharbour Mission (All Saints) Church. However it prompted John Hunt to track down the site of the old Methodist chapel. 

My mother was born in 1894 and lived her early years just around the corner from the Tin Hut church. I was baptised in the Coldharbour Mission church 85 years ago, so a query about the Tin Hut got me interested to find out more details.

First I looked up the details of the birth of Methodism in this area and the names of those who were associated. Then in the reference library I went through street directories from 1901 to 1958. The 1901 Kelly’s directory included the Wesleyan Chapel in the lane, so I noted the names of the people on each side of the site. These were Jethro Flint (my anchor man throughout) and Joseph Lewin. Shortly after 1905 a house was built on what appears to be the chapel site and whether he owned or rented it, a George Gunnell lived there. It was named Odel Cottage. An unusual name, but there were no numbers to the cottages in those days. Changes to the occupants were recorded over the years until the 1934 directory which shows the cottages numbered. This shows Jethro Flint’s cottage as no 9 (which was confirmed to me by his grand daughter who lived with him in the 1930s) and George Gunnell as No 10. With numbers, a clearer picture of the lane was emerging.

Then in 1958 with, I suppose, many more houses being built, Coldharbour Lane was completely renumbered. The Flints’ cottage became no 49 and the Gunnells’ changed from 10 to 51. The even numbers were on the river side and the odds backing on to the railway.

So, until some one can prove me wrong*, I believe that for those few years, no 51 is the site of the first Methodist chapel in this area at the turn of the 20th century and until the new church was opened in Batford on Thursday 25th January 1905. The old building was sold for £25.

The ladies’ hat shop on the corner of Coldharbour Lane** and Westfield Road which was owned by Mrs J.M.Emery in 1934 and Miss Young from 1935 onwards, I remember it  as a wooden building, so it is doubtful if it had any connections with the Tin Hut.

* A walk along Coldharbour Lane helps to throw light on the likely site. Between nos. 49 and 55, is a pair of Edwardian semi-detached villas – nos 51-53. The plot, worth £25, was evidently wide enough for two houses.

** According to Geoff Woodward’s research (and memory) Miss Young’s hat shop was a little further up Westfield Road, on the corner of what is now Hyde Close (see red spot on the map).

Rita Chapman wrote, in September 2011:

I lived in Masefield Road and attended All Saints church.  I can remember the tin church, although at the time I had no idea that it was a church. I do remember it being removed*** and I believe two bungalows replaced it. This was probably late 1950s or early 1960s.

*** The tin church must have been removed in about 1905/6. However, the building at the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Westfield Road, seen in the photo of Pickford Bridge bridge, may have had a tin roof?

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