Opened in 1908, Wesley Hall was the second of Hale's octagonal churches. It is a powerful composition with the many buttresses giving a strong vertical emphasis as they break through the parapets. The exterior is largely unchanged but the interior has had a floor added and has lost most of its original character.
The Sheffield Daily Telegraph in its account of the opening celebrated the modernity and comfort of the new chapel. Hale's brief had been to enable the congregation "without straining the neck to see and hear the preacher from all parts and at the same time to do so under conditions of absolute comfort and help". His assistance extended to tip-up seats and a floor that gently sloped to enable people sitting behind to see over ladies' bonnets in front. This was religion for the twentieth century; "the old pulpitGlossary Term is gone, the ancient pewGlossary Term is no more and "the dim religious lightGlossary Term" is relegated to the cellar".
Hale was anticipating many of the changes being brought about by the reordering of churches today to make churches more "user-friendly". The newspaper's comment that the chapel "looks more like the Hippodrome than a place of worship" was intended as praise not criticism.
Compartment of a window defined by the uprights or mullions.
Loosely, seating for the laity outside the chancel; strictly, an enclosed seat. A box pew is enclosed by a high wooden back and ends, the latter having doors. Churchwarden’s pew: an especially tall or elaborate pew for use by the churchwarden, usually placed at the west end of a church.
Raised and enclosed platform for the preaching of sermons. Three-decker: with reading desk below and clerk’s desk below that. Two-decker: as above, minus the clerks’ desk.
Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009