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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Cumbria

by Steve Bulman & Peter Kessler, 28 February 2020

Carlisle Part 2: Churches of Central Carlisle

St George's United Reformed Church, Carlisle, Cumbria

St George's United Reformed Church stands on the eastern side of West Walls, about fifty metres north of the old tithe barn and its Methodist congregation (see below). This church is the result of an amalgamation between those of Charlotte Street, Fisher Street (see links), and Warwick Road (below). The combined congregation used its current name at Warwick Road until that closed in 2014. While the West Walls building was being prepared, the tithe barn filled in.

Tithe Barn Methodist Meeting, Carlisle, Cumbria

Tithe Barn Methodist Meeting stands on the eastern side of West Walls, flanked on its south side by Heads Lane footpath and within the grounds of St Cuthbert (see links) behind it. When the Central Methodist Church closed in 2006, part of its congregation secured the use of the old tithe barn to form a new meeting known as 'Methodists@tithebarn', while seemingly avoiding the use of 'church' in any publicity materials. It also provided a temporary home for St George URC.

West Walls Roman Catholic Chapel, Carlisle, Cumbria

West Walls Roman Catholic Chapel stood almost exactly where today's gates can be found for the Marks & Spencer collection point. Founded in 1799, it was the earliest post-Reformation Catholic church in the city, built 'behind the Bush Hotel', which was later demolished for Victoria Viaduct. The chapel is shown as 'R - Roman Catholic Chapel' on Wood's 1821 map, but it was soon replaced by St Mary & St Joseph Roman Catholic Chapel on Chapel Street (in 1824).

Athenaeum Baptist Meeting, Carlisle, Cumbria

The Athenaeum Baptist Meeting once used the building of that name which stood on the eastern side of Lowther Street (replaced by Lloyd's Bank building), overlooking the Devonshire Street junction and separated from Carlisle City Church to its south by 'The Last Zebra' bar. By 1847, after leaving Abbey Street, Baptists were renting a large room here with seating for up to a thousand. The meeting seemingly folded in 1850 but was refounded in 1880 on Aglionby Street.

Lowther Street Congregational Church, Carlisle, Cumbria

Lowther Street Congregational Church was founded in 1843 on the east side of the street (formerly Drovers Lane), about twenty metres south of the junction with Devonshire Street. Built by by John Nichol, it replaced Annetwell Street church. President Woodrow Wilson visited it on 29 December 1918 his way to Versailles as his grandfather had been a reverend here. Following the formation of the United Reformed Church it is better known as Carlisle City Church.

Warwick Road Presbyterian Chapel, Carlisle, Cumbria

Warwick Road Presbyterian Chapel sits at the north-east corner of Warwick Road (formerly Henry Street) and Earl Street. Built in 1862-1863, a challenging Scottish Presbyterian named William Reid ministered from 1867. Some members soon left to meet in one of the YMCA rooms, eventually ending up forming Hebron Evangelical Church. Following Warwick Road's closure the congregation moved to St George's URC on West Walls, after a short delay (see above).

St Paul's Lonsdale Street, Carlisle, Cumbria

St Paul's Lonsdale Street stands at the south-west corner of Lonsdale Street and Spencer Street. It was built in 1869-1870 by Habershon and Brock as part of an expansion of Anglican parishes in the city, using quarry-faced red sandstone on a chamfered plinth, with stepped buttresses and a string course, plus graduated greenslate roofs with coped gables. Expansion was over-optimistic, however. Post-war attendances plummeted and the church was closed in 1979.

Elim Community Church, Carlisle, Cumbria

Elim Pentecostal Church, which had been meeting in a building on West Walls from the year of its founding in 1927, moved to St Paul's in 1979. Part of the congregation had already departed following a division in 1939, to found Elim Free Church (Bible Pattern) at the north-east corner of Edward Street and Grey Street. Most Bible Pattern meetings have since been reabsorbed by Elim, while the St Paul's congregation today is known as Elim Community Church.

Lowther Street Methodist Free Chapel, Carlisle, Cumbria

Lowther Street Methodist Free Chapel stood on the eastern side of Lowther Street, about sixty metres north of Lonsdale Street junction. A foundation stone was laid on 4 April 1836 and the chapel opened in 1837. In time it became United Methodist but closed in August 1933 (almost certainly due to that very merger). It reopened in 1957 at Lowther Street Methodist Chapel (Tabernacle) but later closed for good. It now provides retail premises (recently for Argos).

Church of Scotland, Carlisle, Cumbria

The Church of Scotland stands on the northern side of Chapel Street, precisely midway along its length. A meeting to establish the church was held on 15 November 1832 and the completed building opened on 28 December 1834. In 1975 it absorbed the congregation of Fisher Street United Reformed Church (see links), and structural changes were made to the building in 1979. In 2004 it formed a union with the congregation of St Andrew's CoS in Longtown.

All photos on this page by Steve Bulman of 'The Churches of Britain and Ireland'.

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