Upper Brook Street Unitarian Chapel :: Shared Description

The Unitarian Chapel, Upper Brook Street, Manchester, a Grade II* listed building, was described by the Victorian Society in 2010 LinkExternal link as one of the ten most endangered Victorian buildings in England & Wales

The former Unitarian Chapel has been owned by Manchester City Council since the 1970s. Opened in 1839 it is the first known example of a Gothic nonconformist chapel and believed to have been an early collaboration between Sir Charles Barry and AWN Pugin before they worked together on the Palace of Westminster. Yet despite its national significance, the chapel has been neglected for decades, resulting in 2005 in the removal of its roof. The chapel is now open to the elements and largely a ruin.

It was constructed between 1837 and 1839 out of sandstone, with a slate roof. It is in English neogothic style. The building has seven narrow bays, with buttresses and a lancet in each bay. The west end has a giant moulded archway, with an arched doorway at the ground floor with a window above. On the east end there is a rose window. The corners are square, with pinnacles. The inside of the chapel had galleries on three sides, and a ribbed, vaulted ceiling. The attached two-storey Sunday School is in the same style as the chapel, and has a triple-gabled north side, with large arched windows on the first floor. It also has a canted apse on the west end, and a lean-to porch.

The chapel was originally constructed for the Unitarians and was used for burial rites until at least 1857 (although the chapel has no graveyard), as well as baptisms until at least 1912, and marriages until at least 1916.

The chapel was sold in 1928 and subsequently used as a Welsh Baptist Chapel. It was then used as a Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in the early 1970s. The most recent use of both the chapel and former Sunday School was for the Islamic Academy of Manchester between 1974 and 2006, when it was used as a mosque, teaching centre and for outreach work in the Asian community. In 2010 the chapel was vacant, whilst the Islamic Academy still occupied the Sunday School.

More information and photos on Wikipedia: LinkExternal link

Update, December 2017: Both chapel and Sunday school have now been converted into student accommodation LinkExternal link For a fuller story of the conversion see Saving Chapel: LinkExternal link

by Gerald England
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13 images use this description:

SJ8496 : Upper Brook Street by Gerald England
SJ8496 : Converting the Unitarian Chapel  by Gerald England
SJ8496 : Derelict Unitarian church, Upper Brook Street, Manchester by Christopher Hilton
SJ8496 : Unitarian Chapel on Upper Brook Street, Manchester by Gerald England
SJ8496 : Upper Brook Street Unitarian Chapel by Keith Williamson
SJ8496 : Upper Brook Street Unitarian Chapel by Gerald England
SJ8496 : Bloom, Flourish, Thrive by Gerald England
SJ8496 : Upper Brook Street Unitarian Church by Gerald England
SJ8595 : Victoria Baths, Manchester's Water Palace on Hathersage Road by David Dixon
SJ8497 : Islamic Academy by Gerald England
SJ8496 : Upper Brook Street Unitarian Chapel by Gerald England
SJ8496 : Islamic Academy by N Chadwick
SJ8497 : Unitarian Chapel conversion by Gerald England

These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Mon, 18 Oct 2010, Updated: Sun, 24 Dec 2017

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2010 Gerald England, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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