Picture echoes piece of the past

Blackshaw Head bicentenary celebration
Blackshaw Head bicentenary celebration

More than 100 people turned out to mark the bicentenary of Blackshaw Head Methodist Chapel.

To mark the special, milestone anniversary, the church created a contemporary version of a picture taken in the early 1900s.

Anyone with a connection with the building was invited to join in the picture, taken by local photographer Vanessa Kay, on July 12.

It is thought the original picture was taken to mark the extension of the graveyard, but a definitive history of the remarkable snap remains unknown.

Lay pastor, Roger Munday, said: “It was a great day and around 150 people turned up. The sun shone, there was loads of cake, and everyone seemed to have a brilliant time.”

And alongside the chance to be recorded for posterity, tea and cake was also served and there was an opportunity to look around the newly decorated chapel.

The chapel has a rich history - it was built at a time when the upland hand-loom industry was just starting to disappear in the face of industrialisation.

It flourished in its first years of existence and a Sunday School was added in 1839, which by 1843 was recorded as having 66 teachers and 240 scholars.

But 20th century population and religious decline, plus the emergence of new forms of entertainment, meant the chapel was sidelined.

By 1980 it faced the threat of closure and demolition, but thanks to the effort and dedication of church members and the local community, the chapel now stands renovated and modernised at the centre of village life

History group ‘SHED’ are compiling an exhibition tracing the history of the chapel, which will be on show in the building at this year’s village fete on September 5. Visit www.blackshawhead-chapel.net for more information.

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