Our heritage

Contents: Methodism | Bradford West | Bradford Woodhouse Grove


The following link takes you to The Methodist Church of Great Britain's web site.

Bradford West

At the turn of the 19th Century, Bradford was a small rural market town of 16,000 people,where wool spinning and cloth weaving was carried out in local cottages and farms.

Industrial growth led to the rapid expansion of the city. Between 1800 and 1850 Bradford changed from a rural town amongst the woods and fields to a sprawling town filling the valley sides. By 1841 there were more than 100 mills in the borough and it was estimated that two-thirds of the country's wool production was processed in Bradford.

During the same period, in what is now the Bradford West Methodist Circuit, Rev. Patrick Bronte was appointed as Curate at Thornton Church. Maria Bronte gave birth to Charlotte Bronte, Patrick Branwell Bronte, Emily Jane Bronte and Anne Bronte. The house where Mr Bronte wrote and published two books and where, by the age of three, each of the children in turn would be learning their alphabet and singing nursery rhymes still stands at 72/74 Market Street, Thornton.

Richard Ostler, a rich mill owner and committed campaigner for the improvement in working conditions in the Bradford mills, was disinherited by his father for his Methodism.

Towards the end of the century in 1862 Frederick Delius, the renowned composer, was born in Bradford and later attended Bradford Grammar School. In 1873 Samuel Lister opened the largest textile mill in England and J. B. Priestley was born in 1894 at 34 Mannheim Road all just a few streets away from Little Lane and Trinity churches.

Mills that made Bradford the wool capital of the world (Worstedopolis) have in most cases disappeared. Those that remain are now, as part of the City's regeneration, undergoing transformation as they are refurbished into new life as apartments or office complexes.

Bradford West Circuit has also been through many changes, which are dealt with in more detail in our history pages. There are now eight churches in the Circuit, two of which are local ecumenical projects sharing with URC and Baptist Church. At one end of the Circuit Trinity and Little Lane are inner city churches in the middle of one of Bradford's largest Muslim communities. Both congregations are engaged in ecumenical initiatives aimed at sharing the Gospel in the communities that surround them.

As the circuit spreads west from the city centre, the cultural diversity lessens and the inner city - inter faith congregations give way to a more rural way of life and congregation.

Welcomed national improvements for life expectancy have led Methodism and other denominations to look carefully at the pastoral care and support provided for older members of their congregations. Bradford West Circuit's response in September 2001 was to employ a lay pastoral worker, who works with the ministerial staff in offering pastoral care to the older members of all the churches.

July 2005 saw the launch of our first Holiday at Home. The event, centred on Allerton church, was aimed at elderly or housebound members of the circuit not able to go away on holiday. Thirty-four holiday guests and thirty-four helpers enjoyed a week of outings, which included the cinema and a bus ride to Settle Market. Other activities included craft sessions, a Fish and Chip Lunch and a Tea Dance that was attended by the Lord Mayor and her Consort. There were even holiday postcards for everybody to send.

Our churches are more than just places to go and pray on Sundays - they are all part of the rich texture that is the community in West Bradford. Our buildings are used by a number of different groups which meet there and activities include; English courses for Asian women (run by the college), music and art groups as well as the usual Cubs, Beavers, Scouts, Brownies, Guides and Mothers and Toddlers groups.

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Bradford Woodhouse Grove Circuit


Date Event Source
1738 Conversion of John Wesley, Aldersgate Street, London, 24 May  
1742 First evidence of Ingham Society at Idle WW
1744 First visit of John Wesley to Bradford CM
1747 First Methodist class in Bradford CM
1763 First Methodist Cash Account extant for Idle WW
1775 First Eccleshill Chapel opened at Lands Lane WW
1781 First extant list of members for Idle WW
1784 First class meeting at Thackley TMC
1797 Thackley class disbanded after membership dropped to three TMC
1798 Great Revival and increase in society at Idle WW
1805 First Methodist Sunday School in Idle founded WW
1810 Old chapel built at Idle WW
1812 Woodhouse Grove Academy opened WW
1813 Woodhouse Grove Circuit formed WW
1822 Class reformed at Thackley and meeting in members' homes TMC
1829 Yeadon Circuit separated from Woodhouse Grove Circuit WW
1832 First Chapel built in Calverley CM
1833 First Woodhouse Grove Chapel opened WW
1835 First chapel opened at Undercliffe WW
1838 Greengates School/chapel opened by Mr William Dawson WW
1842 Great Revival WW
1845 Formation of new trust for Idle WW
1849 Opening of first Sunday School, Idle WW
1854 Bolton School and Chapel built WW
1854 First Methodist Sunday School built in Calverley CM
1855 Second Eccleshill Chapel built at Stony Lane WW
1856 First Thackley Chapel opened WW
1860 Great revival WW
1861 Calverley Chapel demolished and new chapel built on Clarke Street site CM
1871 New chapel opened in Idle WW
1872 Primitive Methodist Chapel built in Calverley (Park Chapel) CM
1873 Thackley chapel extended TMC
1876 First marriage at Calverley Wesleyan Chapel CM
1888 Thackley chapel damaged by fire and demolished TMC
1889 New chapel opened at Thackley on 7 March TMC
1893 Springfield Mission opened WW
1894 New organ at Idle WW
1903 New Sunday Schools opened at Idle WW
1905 Thackley Chapel registered for marriages TMC
1907 Formation of Otley Road and Woodhouse Grove Circuit WW
1910 Centenary of First Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Idle WW
1932 Union of Wesleyan, Primitive and United Methodists as the Methodist Church CM
1933 Calverley Wesleyan chapel renamed Trinity Methodist Church, Calverley CM
1943 Union of Park and Trinity societies to form Calverley Methodist Church CF
  Trinity Chapel demolished  
1962 Thackley Sunday School damaged by fire TMC
1963 Union of Stony Lane and Norman Lane churches to form Eccleshill Methodist Church on Norman Lane site CR
1967 Union of Otley Road and St Andrew's churches on St Andrew's site CR
1968 Clarke Street Sunday School at Calverley demolished and site sold. CF
1970 New hall opened at Thackley TMC
1970 New hall opened at Calverley CF
1989 Refurbishment of Thackley church with removal of pews TMC
1998 New church built at Bolton  
2004 St Andrew's refurbished  
2004 Thackley became a community centre and launched a redevelopment project.  
2005 Rev Nick Blundell joined the Circuit as minister of St Andrew's and the District Mission Enabling Officer. Nick replaced Rev Darren Garfield.  
2005 Sharon Fell joined the Circuit as the Youth and Children's Worker  
2006 Circuit achieved Fairtrade status.  
2006 Circuit "Salt People" Mission led by Cliff College.  
2006 Rev Keith Hunt joined the Circuit as Superintendent, replacing Rev Albert Gayle.  
2007 Rev Freddy Takavarasha (probationer) joined the Circuit, replacing Rev Harry Scott, as minister of Bolton, Calverley and Thorp churches.  
2008 Thorp closed its doors for the last time on Sunday 27 July 2008.  
2009 5 July Rev Freddy Takavarasha was ordained.  
2009 12 July Circuit Celebration at Calverley Methodist Church  
2009 1 September - the Bradford Woodhouse Grove Circuit ceased to be and its churches joined others from Bradford West and Shipley and Bingley to form the new Bradford North Circuit.  

Focus - Circuit magazine

Our last edition was published in July 2009. The archive is held in a remote file store. Clicking on the links below will take you to a prompt to download the file.Get Adobe Reader.


PDF formats of Focus - the Woodhouse Grove Circuit Magazine.
2004   December
2005 March June November
2006 March July November
2007 March July November
2008 March July November
2009 March July