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Ash Methodist Chapel

Ash Methodist Chapel Ash Methodist Chapel stood in Ash Street on the site now occupied by Clare Court. The road next to it is still called Old Chapel Lane.

This picture is from a copy of a Souvenir Handbook published to mark the Golden Jubilee of Ash Chapel in 1945. The booklet also contains a list of ministers from 1895, and the names of the original trustees and the trustees and church officers in 1945. There is also an extract from the Aldershot News 8 June 1895 describing the laying of memorial stones and bricks by many named people, and a further extract from the Aldershot News 2 November 1895 about the opening services. (422/1)

The chapel was a neat and attractive building designed by Mr W Garland. It stood a few paces from the road to the south, and the space in front was planted with shrubs etc. The entrance had a small vestibule. There were two transepts at the west end, one each side of the rostrum, and comfortable open bench seats for about 100 persons. A communion rail encircled the preacher's desk, and the windows were of "cathedral-tinted" glass. There was a kitchen to the rear.

As the population of Ash grew, the need for a Sunday School room became pressing. On 7 July 1926 memorial stones were laid for a schoolroom at the rear of the Chapel. The first stone, bearing the initials "JR", was laid for Mr Joseph Rank of London, a prominent member of the Wesleyan denomination who had sent a donation of 25. The souvenir programme for this event was similar to the one that had been issued for the stone-laying on Whit Monday 1895. The same order of service was used and the same hymns were sung. After the service tea was served in a spacious marquee.

The schoolroom was designed to hold about 200 scholars. It was a large hall 50 feet long and 21 feet wide, built of brick with a slated roof and a woodblock floor. The architect was Mr PHW Wells of Aldershot and the builders were Messrs Kemp and Stroud of Aldershot. The cost was 1050, and the schoolroom was opened in 1927.

In 1945 the Chapel was known for its friendly atmosphere, and there were regular services on Sundays, mornings and evenings, a Sunday School, a Women's Guild, a Young People's Guild and weeknight Fellowship meetings. Mr Banfield had been a steward for the full 50 years (probably Arthur Charles Banfield, a cabinet maker who had lived in Star Lane for many years). During the War the Chapel had been prepared for use as an emergency feeding centre and, although it had not been used for this purpose, it had been used for a time as an annexe to the school. In 1945 funds were being raised for the installation of electric lighting and an electric organ.

In the History Room, the Museum has a photocopy of an article printed in the Aldershot Gazette & Military News 8 July 1926 when the memorial stones were laid for the building of a new Sunday School adjoining the church (422/4). We also have photocopies of three pictures: a group of people present at the 1926 stone laying, the interior of the chapel and the interior of the schoolroom (338/20-22). Also in the History Room is a flyer for an Autumn Bazaar held in the schoolroom 29 October 1960 (422/3).

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