Our Church History

This information has been put together by Peter who attends our Sunday School as part of his Faith badge for Scouts.

Glebe Methodist Church: A History

Joseph Cook Memorial Chapel, North Biddick, amalgamated with Village Lane Wesleyan Chapel in 1975 and together became known as Washington South Methodist Church. While waiting for their new church to be built, the joint congregation met in Glebe Village Hall. In 1976 their new church was opened. This was the birth of the Glebe Methodist Church.

Joseph Cook Memorial Chapel
The Joseph Cook Memorial Chapel had its origins in 1852 when services were held in the kitchen at North Biddick Hall, the home of Joseph Cook, Iron Master. Cook was the force behind re- introducing Methodism to the North Biddick area.

North Biddick Hall

The Memorial Chapel opening ceremony was held on the 15th September 1900 (almost 17 years after Cook’s death). It provided seating for 280 people.



Joseph Cook Memorial Chapel, near Brady Square

Interior of Joseph Cook Memorial Chapel 


In the 1960’s, Station Road Primitive Methodist Chapel, due to falling numbers merged with Joseph Cook Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.

 A Compulsory Purchase Order closed the Chapel, for a planned new road. The organ and communion rail (seen in the above photograph) were removed from Joseph Cook Memorial Chapel and installed in the new church – Glebe Methodist Church. In the end, the new road was built some distance away from the site on the original plans.

Village Lane Chapel

 The Village Lane Chapel was established from the old Brandy Lane Chapel, located at the end of the pit road opposite the present day Royal Mail Sorting Office. Brandy Lane closed as a chapel in 1859 and for some years continued as a Wesleyan day school, the Headmaster being a man called George Spittal. The day school was attended by 160 pupils.

Village Lane Methodist chapel served Washington Village from 1877 to 1975. It was known as “Kid Gloves and Lavender Chapel”, as it was attended by the families of well to do mine – owners, colliery managers, trades people, school teachers, a chemist and important people in the community. They all had their own pews. The rest of the congregation was made up of the ordinary working people.

 At this time Washington was not like it is today. There were many collieries and waggon ways. Dolly Heslop, who attended the chapel from her childhood to its closure described, “Washington Village was much smaller then.” There was a rectory, Pott’s farm house, a couple of shops and the Catholic Church, the rest was fields. The Church was the centre for social activities in the local area.

New roads were pushed through by Washington Development Corporation to form the New Town. One of the new roads (the A1231) cut through Village Lane, turning it into a dead end. It cut off the chapel from a large part of its congregation, making it more difficult for people to attend.

Village Lane Chapel


 A meeting was held in the early 1970’s, it was decided Village Lane Chapel would close and join with the congregation from Joseph Cook.



The Sunday school of Joseph Cook Memorial Chapel  (1975 – 76)