Bishop Street Methodist Church
Built in the classical Nonconformist manner in 1915 on land originally adjoining the livestock market, now Town Hall Square: arched windows, two entrances to the horseshoe gallery enclosed by a four-square structure. The architect, Revd William Jenkins, was also a Methodist Minister.
Most interior fittings are late 19th century: 'barley-sugar' balustres support the communion rail, a central pulpit, clock, pews and fold-down wall benches. In the 1840s an extra bay was built, and in 1858 a pipe organ was bought from Groves and Mitchell with early 18th century casework from the workshop of Father Smith. A 1936 rebuild by Hill, Norman and Beard included a more 'cinematic' style console and expanded pipework to create one of Leicester's finest pipe organs. After restoration of the casework in 2016, a major renovation by Henry Groves of the organ itself, completed in 2017, brings it back to good order with improved capabilities.
The Church Heritage Room was officially opened in September 2015. Here are two fine portraits, one a lithograph of John Wesley in old age is by Strobridge and Co, recently identified as being from a painting taken to America in 1808 and destroyed in a fire in Cincinnati in 1868; the other, a portrait in oils, is of William Lewis, the Leicester man who gave the first local Methodist society a barn in which to worship. Also on display are reproductions of archive photographs, and information on notable individuals. (Open by arrangement with the church office – 0116 255 4111).
Two information panels in the Chapel Café describe the early Methodists in Leicester and the beginnings of the Bishop Street chapel building. Information sheets for visitors are available, along with a leaflet for a self-guided walk through the city centre, visiting sites relating to John Wesley. The Cafe is open weekdays 10.00 am-4.00 pm, Saturdays 10.00 am-3.00 pm.
Further information about the Church's heritage, including baptismal records, war memorial biographies and the history of the organ can be found at www.bishopstreetchurch.org.uk and www.bishopstreetorgan.org.uk
10a Bishop Street
Getting there [TF974169]