Central Hall Methodist Church, Fisher Street, Carlisle

Built in 1922 the Central Methodist Hall in Carlisle closed in 2005.

It was opened on April 12th, 1923 by Mr Joseph Rank. The estimated cost of the building was £26,000.

Methodist Church Hall, Fisher Street, Carlisle

Methodist Church Hall, Fisher Street, Carlisle

The former Methodist Church occupies a prominent position on Fisher Street, very close to the Market Hall.

It is an imposing red sandstone building with crisp classical detailing.

Retained within the building are some very attractive decorative plasterwork interiors.

The building, recently listed Grade II, reflects the importance of Nonconformist worship within Carlisle in the early 20th century.

The church was designed by Brocklehurst and Hornabrook and largely funded, £10,000,  by the millionaire philanthropist, Joseph Rank (of Hovis bread fame).

Methodist Church Hall, Carlisle

Methodist Church Hall, Carlisle

The remainder of the money was raised by the first minister of the church, the Revd Bramwell Evans, who later became a national icon as the voice of BBC Radio’s ‘Romany’ – the children’s nature programme that inspired the likes of David Attenborough and David Bellamy.

Well connected architects

Arthur Brocklehurst was an Interwar architect based in Manchester.

One of Brocklehurst’s partners was Alan W. Hornabrook, whose father the Revd John Hornabrook (1848-1937) was President of the Methodist Conference and Chairman of the Wesleyan Chapel Committee.

Brocklehurst designed a number of chapels and central halls for the Methodist Church.

Some reports indicate that the Hall is built on the site of a former Roman house and incorporates an 1800 year old well.

John Wesley plaque.

John Wesley plaque.

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, preached in the Fisher Street Chapel in 1788 and 1790. The chapel was not this building but a chapel further down the road.

Inside the main building is a large auditorium with balcony and is suitable for seating around 500 people.

It is thought that whilst the building was occupied by the Methodists, staff  kept a box of real Roman sandals in the office cupboard! These sandals were found on the site during excavation works.

Other ancient relics were also discovered these are in the care of the local Tullie House museum.

Adjacent to the hall is a three bedroom flat, also part of the complex.

Up for sale

The whole building is available for sale or rent via Hyde Harrington in Carlisle. Current details, as of May 2010, indicate the Terms to be £400,000/£35,000pa.

Further information

BBC Cumbria gallery – As the doors closed BBC Cumbria took one final look inside

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