Ibstock, Reform Road Wesleyan Reform Chapel, Leicestershire

In January 1851 the Ibstock Wesleyan Reformers opened a 25 square yard place of worship in a shared building. It is not known where this building was situated or when the congregation moved to the chapel in Reform Road. Nor is it known whether they erected the building or took over an existing structure. The building did however have the distinction of giving its name to the thoroughfare (in reality a footpath rather than a road) in which it was situated. The reformers appear to have remained here until their new chapel in Melbourne Road was opened in 1911.
At present the building is surrounded on three sides by waste land but the new roof indicates that it is well cared for and the construction of a new NHS building (well worth a visit for contrasting architecture) in front could be a sign of impending improvement. It is also unfortunate that a modern lean-to structure obscures the lower part of the fa├žade. Nevertheless sufficient is visible to indicate that this is a remarkable and, as a Methodist chapel, unusual building. One unexpected feature is the presence of large round headed windows at both ends of the building (images 01 and 03). The pair at the back of the building are quite plain but the front windows with their brick arches and decorated and projecting keystones would have given the building an imposing appearance. This was much enhanced by the presence of decorative stone work (image 04). Besides the keystones already mentioned the long sides of the rusticated quoins have a kind of vermicular dressing, the base of the pediment has a fret pattern and the arch a peardrop motif between a beaded moulding above and a round moulding below. The mason appears to have had a problem where the two met. Would that we knew the name of this interesting craftsman. It would also be interesting and informative to learn of other Methodist buildings displaying this kind of decoration.

The National Archives,1851 ecclesiastical census TNA HO129.413.2.22 (Market Bosworth Union)
Site visit 15.4.2023

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