History of Fallings Park Methodist Church

Methodism in Fallings Park area goes back one hundred and thirty-six years. It all started when a forty-nine year old man, George Cope, left a Circuit meeting disillusioned because his plea to re-open the Wesleyan Methodist Mission Church in neighbouring Heath Town had been turned down.

There were significant social problems in the area, unemployment and poverty were rife, and George Cope was determined that something must be done about it. He therefore decided to open his own mission church, which he ran and maintained at his own expense. In a house in nearby Prestwood Road, the poor could sit in warmth and comfort and at times given a bowl of soup and a slice of bread.

Thus the vision of one man, helped by a few loyal supporters, sowed the seeds that grew over the years to become what it is today – Fallings Park Methodist Church and Community Centre.

In January 1881 new premises were found in Church Street which became known locally as “Cope’s Chapel”. Alterations were made to the property to make it suitable for use as a chapel and where people could worship. A small stove provided heating, a low platform was built to house a pulpit and wooden benches, some with backs and some without, installed for the congregation.

Christian witness flourished in the area and in 1885 the circuit placed on record its appreciation of the work done at the church street mission.

Prayer meetings, Sunday school, Sunday services, mid-week services, class meetings, writing lessons all took place in Cope’s Chapel and there was particular enthusiasm for the Sunday school. George cope died in December 1904 but his work carried on.

The mission was now looking for larger premises and in 1907 a plot of land was purchased for £135 on the corner of Bushbury Road and Thorneycroft Lane. A wooden building was erected and opened in September 1908. It continued to thrive and in 1926 fund raising began with the objective of looking for larger premises. Ten years later, a free gift of a plot of land in Wimborne Road was given to the church, enabling work to begin on a new building.

On 22 October 1936 the new church was opened. Designed by Frank Birch, it was built with a Spanish theme which is still prevalent today. A balconied entranceway was added in 2013, with sweeping access ramp, to provide easy access for the elderly, disabled and parents with pushchairs. An outdoor seating area was created.

Since 1936 extensions have been added to the church and the premises now contain a community hall, function room and kitchen as well as a separate building for use of the uniform organisations.