Connelly, A., 2012.
'A pool of Bethesda': Manchester's First Wesleyan Methodist Central Hall
|Output Type:||Journal article|
|Publication:||Bulletin of the John Rylands Library|
|Publisher:||Manchester University Press|
<jats:p>Methodist Central Halls were built in most British towns and cities. They were
designed not to look like churches in order to appeal to the working classes.
Entirely multi-functional, they provided room for concerts, plays, film shows
and social work alongside ordinary worship. Some contained shops in order to pay
for the future upkeep of the building. The prototype for this programme was
provided in Manchester and opened on Oldham Street in 1886. This article offers
a first analysis of it as a building type and looks at the wider social and
cultural contribution of the building. It continues the narrative by discussing
changing use and design during a twentieth century that witnessed the widespread
contraction of Methodist congregations.</jats:p>