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Hollinsend Methodist Church Description: Description: orb

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Beginnings

Prior to 1800 there were only a few cottages in Hollinsend and it was not regarded as an area in its own right, but linked to the Gleadless parish for census data.

The area derives its name from the vast number of holly bushes on Birley Moor, hollin being an old English alternative word for holly.  In 1725 the Earl of Oxford stated that they were the greatest numbers of stunted holly bushes he had ever seen.  This was due to them being pruned regularly.

With the finding of coal and the development and expansion of the mining industry in the area the number of holly bushes decreased and the number of cottages increased.

In the 1820’s there was a mining accident which caused the death of seven local people.  This accident may have had some impact on the other miners as there was a religious upsurge in the area which led to the need for some spiritual guidance and meetings were started at the home of Pit Deputy John Almond at 139 Hollinsend Road, led by him and William James. This is now the site of Gleadless Primary School.

The numbers of people meeting grew until it was felt that they needed a larger permanent place to meet and worship.  So they got together and built the Wesleyan Chapel themselves.  In 1858 when it opened it was part of the East circuit of Sheffield.  The first service in the chapel was conducted by Rev’d Charles Richardson.

Some of the original members of the meetings at 139 Hollinsend Road started to meet in the Gleadless area which resulted in the development of Gleadless Methodist Church, an old day church plant.

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The Church (centre) set in the current residential area

The Church Building

It is reported that the original plans for the chapel building were drawn on a piece of metal and that many of the young men in the area answered the plea and volunteered to dig the foundations and help build the chapel.  The foundation stone in the front wall of the chapel is dated 1858 and was laid by George Bassett. 

The worship area is characterised by the large windows, requested by the miners who spent most of their time down the pits.  Some of the internal fixtures, the pulpit, pews etc. came from Pipe’s Chapel in Norton, which had been demolished in 1853, and some items were given by other churches. 

In the last ten years renovations and improvements have taken place which includes re-roofing the worship area and schoolroom, new double glazed windows in these areas, plastering of walls, decorating, new chairs and new doors.  It is only natural that some renovation is necessary, the building having outlasted all other buildings in the area.

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Church Activities

Throughout the years the church at Hollinsend has aimed to be a place where God’s message can be heard.  Some of these activities may appear to have a more social aspect but were important as the church members involved in these activities would be able to show and share God’s word and love by their actions and example.

The Sunday School Anniversaries were one of the highlights of the church year; the schoolroom would be packed to capacity as upwards of 50 children would take part in the celebrations as the Captains and Queens would be presented to the church.  They would lead the church in The Whitsun (Pentecost) Walks in the area which concluded in a gathering in Hollinsend Park for the “Whitsun Sings”.

Some of these activities lasted for many years.  In 1905 a cricket club was started and some of the present members are still involved with the cricket club that still bears the Hollinsend name.  Cricket was played at 4 different grounds, its latest home since 1984 being at Fox Lane.  The cricket club played an important part in the village and chapel life.  In the 1950’s there was also a football team. 

A church choir was started and a choirmaster appointed in 1906, the choir continued to perform and have regular anniversary performances. In 1943 the Male Voice Choir requested to officially adopt the title of Hollinsend Male Voice Choir; the choir was dissolved in the late 1950’s.

Ladies groups have featured throughout the years and included Bright Hour which started in the 1940’s and lasted up to 1991. 

Methodist traditions of temperance and non-participation in gambling were strongly upheld to the point that there was a note made in the minutes of December 1948 regarding fund raising that “no monies to have been raised from whist drives, dancing, raffles or any form of gambling”.

Worship times have varied throughout the church’s life; sometimes 2 services took place on Sundays with Children’s Sunday School taking place in the afternoon as well as during the morning service.  Sunday School was a very important time for children at that time, as there were very few activities for them on Sundays.

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150th Church Anniversary

Our 150th Anniversary project was to put the “hollin” back in Hollinsend by planting a border of holly bushes in the church grounds.  Church members and friends sponsored the holly bushes and members of the church planted them’

A week-end of celebration took place on 1 and 2 November 2008 including a display of photographs showing some of the history of the church.  A Christian puppet show on Saturday afternoon by “Saints Alive” followed by two celebration services on the Sunday, the 10.30am service led by the past Superintendent Minister Revd Peter Edwards and his wife Rita and an Evening Celebration Service concluded the week-ends events led by the present Superintendent Minister Revd Jen Mullis.

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