The present Methodist church, at the top of the High Street, was built on a plot of land purchased from Powys Estates for £470 in 1863. Thomas Hazelhurst of Runcorn, a notable Cheshire businessman and generous benefactor to Methodist Chapels and schools, laid the foundation stone, and the church was officially opened on 2nd December 1864. The cost of the chapel, with its imposing stone frontage and spire, and designed by the eminent Victorian architect George Bidlake of Wolverhampton, was £2,300. It seated 600 people, and soon Methodism became the leading denomination in the town. Although not a listed building, it is situated in what is now a Conservation Area.
Substantial alterations were made in 1970, when the gallery and pews were removed, and a false ceiling was installed to conserve heat.
The church of today, whilst not as strong in numbers as in those heady days of the late 19th century, is still an active witness to God’s love, with morning and evening worship (and Afternoon Tea services during winter months), a weekly Coffee Morning for Shoppers, Jubilate Singers’ rehearsals and Parent and Toddler Group on Mondays, Bible Study Group on alternate Tuesdays, a Craft Group on Thursdays, Friendship Lunches on alternate Saturdays, a monthly Friday afternoon Fellowship Group and a Bring and Share Lunch following morning worship on the 1st Sunday.
The premises are also well used by some 20 local groups and organisations, and the church itself is the venue for regular prestigious classical music concerts arranged by Welshpool Music Club.
In 2016, the church completed a £200,000 redevelopment scheme, updating and refurbishing its premises to better serve the needs of both church and community in the 21st century. The installation of a lift now serves a refurbished 1st floor multi-use room to accommodate 40 people for worship, meetings, conferences, exercise classes and other events, and externally, a designated parking bay and drop-off area, with ramped access into the rear of the premises, has been created. The kitchen has been extended and re-fitted with new units and appliances to comply with Environmental Health requirements for food safety, and all the toilet facilities have been upgraded. In the worship area, the pulpit has been removed, new carpet fitted and the chairs replaced, opening up the church space for multi-purpose use. Some improvements and enhancements to the High Street frontage include new handrails and notice boards, and planning permission is awaited for replacement doors with glazed units.
These refurbished and upgraded premises should serve both church and community users well into the foreseeable future as High Street Methodists continue to “Celebrate and Share God’s Love” with all.