Nelson church to close after 150 years

Nelson United Reformed Church which is closing down.

Nelson United Reformed Church which is closing down.

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The final service will be held in Nelson’s Brunswick Street Church next month after 150 years of Congregational and United Reformed worship in the town.

Members will then join their friends at Burnley United Reformed Church to form a new fellowship at their Bethesda Street site from July 12th.

The Nelson URC congregation at Easter this year. (S)

The Nelson URC congregation at Easter this year. (S)

Prior to this, a reunion social event will be held at Brunswick Street on Saturday, June 13th, from 2pm.

On the day there will be a display of memorabilia, photos, etc., relating to the churches at Manchester Road and Brunswick Street, with afternoon tea served from 4pm – and former members and friends are invited to attend.

Local historian examines background of our non-Conformist churches - click here

The first Congregational was erected on Marsden Heights in 1837. Increasing population led to the building of a larger chapel in Halifax Road, Brierfield, known as Providence Chapel.

Messrs J. and J. Landless lent the lower part of their foundry for the use of the congregation at Nelson and it was opened for worship in 1865.

Shortly afterwards they moved to Co-operative Assembly Room, where a Sunday School and preaching services were conducted until October of the same year when they entered a new place of worship, erected in Lomeshaye Road at a cost of £800, raised by fund-raising activities. This building is now the head office of Electrical Contractors Robinson and Lawlor.

Around 1883, during the ministry of Rev. J.R. Richards, a plot of land on Manchester Road was bought for £550 and the foundation stone for a new, larger church, seating 750 people, was laid. There was a cost of about £4,500 without the land and the scheme consisted of a church, with a school building behind. Building started in 1889.

The old chapel in Lomeshaye Road was used as a Sunday school after the opening of the new chapel until the new school was completed.

The final service was held on December 15th, 1890, and the premises sold to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company who needed the land for extension.

This site is where Lidl now stands.

There are still many in the town who remember the imposing church building, and also the many events held there.

Most notably these included the annual performance of Handel’s Mesiah, on the Sunday before Christmas, with nationally acclaimed principal soloists accompanied by the Nelson Orchestra which was founded by members of the Congregational Church.

In 1901 the Brunswick Street Chapel opened and in 1972 became the United Reformed Church.

In 1975 there was the final service at the Sunday School building on Manchester Road and people combined with the church in Brunswick Street.