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A Brief History of The Church

Normanby Methodist Church began life in 1960, when Cleveland Street Methodist Church (formerly the United Methodist Church) and Patton Street Methodist Church (formerly The Primitive Methodist Church) were united. The Cleveland Street schoolroom was built in 1863 and the Chapel opened in 1887. The Patton Street Church was built in 1900 and then in 1960 it became the Worship centre of Normanby Methodist Church. The Cleveland Street premises were converted into Normanby Methodist Youth centre, which was formally opened by Keith Schellenberg on 27th February 1965.

MORE ABOUT THE YOUTH CENTRE

The Cleveland Street Methodist Church became the Youth Centre when the two churches amalgamated in 1960 Archive records indicate that the old schoolroom at Cleveland Street was built in 1863 and subsequently the Chapel opened in 1887. Although there are no records to confirm, there must have been an active witness in the Normanby area in the years prior to these dates. During these early years, the United Methodist Free Church in Cleveland Street was an active church within the Stockton united Methodist Free Church Circuit. Apparently the U.M. Free Church was formed nationally in 1857. This no doubt accounts for the fact that Cleveland Street was always known as the “Free Church”. The first Preachers’ meeting of the UM Free Church Stockton Circuit was held on 28 September 1868 in Milton Street Chapel, Middlesbrough. The minutes of the meeting record that “Brother Whitfield of Normanby be employed as Preacher on note”. A similar Preachers’ meeting was held on 28 June 1869 at Normanby. Clearly the Cleveland Street Free Church was very much on the Methodist map at this time.

For reasons, which are not entirely clear, other than geographical, Middlesbrough became the centre of a new circuit in 1875, the last meeting of the Stockton UM Free Church Circuit being held on 28 June of that year. The first Preachers’ meeting of the new circuit was held in the Linthorpe Road schoolroom on 1 October 1875. Other Churches, which seemed to have belonged to the new circuit included Grange Road, North Ormesby Road, Milton Street, Ormesby Road, Orwell Street and Nelson Street, Southbank.

It is not clear from remaining records what happened locally in the years immediately following, although clearly there was still a UM Free Church witness throughout the Teeside area. In 1907, the UM Free Church joined the Methodist New Connexion (MNC) and the Bible Christians to form the United Methodist Union in 1932 with local circuits amalgamating in 1932 with local circuits amalgamating in 1934.

The first signs of a blossoming relationship between Patten Street and Cleveland Street are recorded in the minutes of the UM Church Quarterly Meeting held on 8 March1926. A letter had been received from the Eston Primitive Methodist (PM) circuit “notifying us that they had appointed a deputation to meet a similar one from this meeting to explore the ground in the hope of bringing the two churches into a relationship”. In Normanby it took almost 40 years before this courtship was consummated. The first joint meeting of the trustees of Patten Street and Cleveland Street was held on 13 June 1961.

In the intervening years, Cleveland Street, together with the UM Church in Nelson Street, Southbank, was formally included in the Southbank (ex Wesleyan) and Eston (ex Primitive) Quarterly meeting held in the Normanby Road, Southbank Methodist Church on Wednesday 11 April for submission to the 1934 Methodist Conference.

Finally, it is interesting to note some extracts from remaining trustees meeting records from Cleveland Street. Some folk will remember with fond memories the event and personalities mentioned.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR CHURCH

All the following passages are taken from Normanby Methodist Centenary Booklet, which was issued for the centenary year in 2000

There appears to be no documentary evidence about how the Normanby Primitive Methodist Church began as a “house church” before the chapel was built in 1900 The received verbal tradition is that it started in the streets of Normanby with fellowship meetings and working parties to raise money for the new building. The James Hammerton senior and Hannah Hammerton, whose names are on inscribed stones inside the church lived in number 30 West Street, Eston. James had connections with the United Methodist Free Church in Cleveland Street but transferred his loyalty to the Primitive Methodists and helped considerably in financing the building of our church.

The foundation stone on the left-hand side was laid by A.E.Pease,esq, M.P., on 30th June 1900. William Codd who was a retired grocer who lived in Ormesby laid the foundation stone on the right hand side of the entrance. He had lived in Eston and was probably the oldest member of the church, being 75 years old in 1900. The following extracts from “The Primitive Methodist World” describe in some detail the important ceremonies in 1900.

On Saturday (June 30th) the memorial stones of the primitive Methodist Church now in course of construction at Normanby were formally laid. A deputation accompanied by the Eston Miners’ Old Brass Band, met Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Pease, and the party proceeded to the site of the new chapel, where a short devotional service was held. The Rev. J. Davidson read a letter from Mr.. J.J. Swan that neither he nor Mrs. Swan could attend and he enclosed £2.2s on behalf of Mrs. Swan and a further sum of £5.00 as a donation from himself, and concluded by wishing the church and its members every happiness and success in their new venture.

Mr. Pease was then asked to lay the first stone, for which purpose he was presented with a handsome silver trowel bearing the following inscription “Presented to A.E.Pease, esq.M.P. by the trustees of Normanby Primitive Methodist Church, at the foundation stone laying, June 30th 1900”. After laying the stone Mr. Pease said that it was indeed a great pleasure to himself and Mrs. Pease to pay a visit to their friends at Normanby. He supposed that like himself, there were many present who were not Primitive Methodists, but he sincerely hoped that they all felt warmly as he did towards them. There were, of course, various points of difference, but after all, their creeds were similar, and it therefore was necessary that they should endeavour to assist each other whenever opportunity presented itself. They should always be ready to help bodies like the Primitive Methodists, who had to find the means for erecting their chapels and schools from pockets anything but well filled. He thought it spoke very well for such a small chapel that they had already been able to raise nearly half the amount required. This chapel, he sincerely hoped would be a success and prove a never failing source if comfort to the people of the neighbourhood. Stones were also laid by Mrs. Pease, Mr. J. Hammerton and three stones by young people of the church.

At the conclusion of the ceremony a public tea was held in an adjoining field, and later in the evening a public meeting, Dr. Fulton presiding. On Sunday special commemoration services were held, the choir rending a service of song, “Led by a Child”, whilst in the evening Mr. J. Appleyard of Middlesbrough delivered an address.

In the early 2000's it became apparent that something need to be done to bring the church up to standard as regards the Disablement Act. After several meetings it was decided to sell the Youth Centre premises as these were difficult to update, and to knock down the Church building and build a new church as this was a cheaper option , there  being no VAT on a new build.

Many fund raising efforts began, some of which were sponosored hymn singing of Hymns and Psalms, a sponsored Bible read of the Gospels and Acts. A Ways and Means commiuttee was set up and social evenings took place to raise  funds.  Several people took out a covenant to raise a certain amount.  With grants from several places the money was eventually raised and the new church building was completed by late 2014  and worship moved from the Youth Centre to our modern building. We give thanks to God for his provision and for the vision which made this project begin.  Rev David Payne who had begun  the process came back to officially open the church in early 2005. We celebrated the 10 years of the new church with a flower festival in 2015