Church History

 

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Brief history of Ainsworth Methodist Sunday School

 

In the late 1800s Methodists were meeting in the old chapel, across the road from the present one (where the white bungalow now stands). The building was obviously deficient as, in 1888 a plot across the road from the old chapel was acquired for around £50.

Fundraising started almost immediately and in 1892 the new chapel was opened.

Sunday School meetings continued in the old chapel but, again, this building was considered unsuitable so, in 1930 a new Sunday School was designed by architects Byrom Clark and Co. It was opened in 1934 by the Mayor of Bolton who commented that there was not a better built Sunday School in the whole of Lancashire !

It was funded by intensive fundraising, including Sales of Work, concerts, and by selling bricks and stones inscribed with the names of the donors, most of which can be seen today (the stones, not the donors!).

The then Superintendent was William Earnshaw, great grandfather of a current teacher at Sunday School. No doubt he was a man to be feared and/or respected.

Meetings were held each Sunday at 10.30 in the morning, then again at 1.30 in the afternoon. There were also church services at 2.45pm and 6.00pm. A dedicated scholar was therefore expected to attend 4 times each Sunday. Prizes were awarded for good attendance but only 2 absences per year were allowed for a top prize. How times have changed.

The afternoon session ceased in the 1970s and, in the 1980s, the morning session was held a little later, 10.45am to enable a start in chapel, the scholars leaving after about 15 mins.

The buildings have remained basically unchanged since they were built, apart from the  upgrading of existing facilities. In 2004 it was recognised that the buildings were inadequate and a scheme devised to improve them. However, despite strenuous efforts from supporters and officials alike, it has not been possible to secure funding due to the intervention of the local council. Again, times have changed.

But we remain optimistic and positive. Our experience over the years has shown that our fortunes seem cyclic and that our present difficulties are temporary. We remain confident that God will guide us in our work and our supporters will remain firmly loyal, in the assurance that Godís work is indeed being done here