Ilkley Road Methodist Chapel and its history -
Ilkley Road Methodist Chapel was originally the home of Riddlesden Wesleyan Methodists
The site was purchased in 1874 for £100 by the Wesleyan Methodist Society. Messrs Hargreaves and Bailey of Bradford were the architects for the project. The site was not an easy one;
for the most part it is solid rock with springs bubbling up here and there and the gradient is very steep. We like to think we are built on the rock of faith surrounded by the waters
of life. The two foundation stones were laid on 23rd September1882 and the opening ceremony took place less than a year later.
Music was provided by a harmonium which came with the Wesleyans from their original home at Barley Cotes but eventually a new more powerful American organ was purchased, this was replaced by a pipe organ in 1922. In 1964 we had a new organ built specifically for the acoustics of our chapel.
A new way of teaching Sunday School based on the work of Dr Maria Montessori was introduced to the life of the Chapel and the Sunday school expanded to such an degree that an extension was required. On Saturday 11 June 1910 the foundation stone was laid.
1932 saw the act of Methodist Unity which amalgamated the three Methodist churches, Wesleyan, Primitive and United, at national level into the Methodist Church. The Wesleyans became the
Riddlesden Methodist Church.
Immediately after the war there was an increase in the population at Riddlesden which resulted in a subsequent increase in church activity in the community. It made sense for the Primitive and Wesleyan Societies to amalgamate in one building and this they did in 1955.
This was marked by putting two stained glass windows in the sanctuary, one each side of the pulpit. The stained glass was the gift of Hermit Hole Chapel which was being demolished at that time.
We became a stewardship church in 1962 which meant that we pledged to a regular giving of money and service which met the physical needs of the building and the congregation so that we did not need to spend all our time and effort on raising money. This left us the time to understand our faith, take care of our spiritual needs and devote more time and energy to the needs of our community.
In 1976 we altered the building again to cater for the needs of our growing congregation. An upper storey was built, the downstairs was altered placing the kitchen in its present position and locating a toilet on the ground floor.
As John and Charles Wesley, under God’s grace, met the needs of the people of the Industrial revolution so we of the 21st Century must meet the
needs of those who are living through the information revolution.
We live in a 24 hour culture which has removed Sunday as the traditional day of rest. A time when more people gain their knowledge and entertainment through television and the Internet than through books, a time when fewer people value the beauty of their language but more people use it to write via text, email, blogs, tweets and Facebook messages than ever before. An age where the pace of life, at least in western industrial countries, has quickened beyond measure in the last 50 years, distances between countries has shortened because of the improvements in transport and direct communications between cultures has become easier.
But the communication from the heart between peoples seems more difficult. We know more but it seems we understand less. It is a time when we need to return to Jesus and his message of love for all peoples.
Ilkly Road Methodist Church has been on its present site since 1853 and combines the worship communitees of the Primitive Methodist Church at Barleycote Lane and the Wesleyan Methodists of Ilkley Road.