About the Venue
A Methodist chapel was built on Witham Road, Kirkstead in 1875. At this time, Kirkstead was not seen as part of Woodhall Spa. Consequently, staunch Methodists, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Belton, Mr. T. S. Chapman and Mr. G. Overton pressed for a house of worship in Woodhall Spa itself. A private donor supplied money and gave the land, which had belonged to Mr. Blyton, nurseryman behind the Broadway, to the Trust. This was in 1898. The building of a small, combined chapel and schoolroom was accomplished in 1899. It is fitting that the first child to be christened in the new chapel was Ivy, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Belton.
Seven years later, this chapel was too small to accommodate the congregation of this rapidly growing village. Consequently, in 1906, many money – raising events were held to fund a new building in front of the chapel, adjacent to the Broadway. There was a Bazaar, a Sale of Work by the Ladies’ Sewing Class, a Bachelors’ Tea, given by the Young Men’s Bible Class and an Entertainment performed by the Sunday School scholars and other events, as well as donations, which procured the necessary money to begin the building.
Foundation stones for the new chapel were purchased by generous benefactors. On the “wild and wintry” afternoon of the 29th January 1907, “notable persons” and “the local Methodists” congregated for a ceremony at which foundation stones were laid. The sky became very dark and snow fell heavily, but the intrepid Methodists were not dismayed. Sundry objects, including a bottle of coins and a copy of the “Horncastle News” were placed underneath the stones.
After the ceremony, the gathering repaired to the Winter Gardens of the Royal Hotel “to partake of tea”. This was followed by a public meeting at which there were hymns, addresses and solos rendered by a Madame Strathearn, A.R.C.M of London.
The cost of the building was estimated at £4000 before the addition of the spire. The opening ceremony for the chapel was on 5th August of that year. This time the weather was described as “lovely”. The Boys Brigade and Sunday School scholars marched to the chapel, led by a Bugle Band. There, proceedings were delayed because a train was half an hour late. The Superintendent Minister of the Coningsby circuit addressed the gathering from the chapel steps. He said that the land occupied by the building had been purchased for the purpose 18 years previously, by Mr J Rivett of Horncastle. Then Mr George Lewis, a native of Woodhall Spa, now residing in Lincoln, was handed a special key and with a bugle salute, the chapel was declared open for worship. After the service, taken by the President Elect of the Methodist Conference, there was a public lunch followed by another service in the afternoon, a meat tea in the schoolroom and a public meeting at 6.30, so well supported that some people were unable to get in. Madame Strathearn, was once again in full voice and “received a hearty reception”.
At the conclusion of the evening, a special train left Woodhall Junction for Lincoln.