History of the Mount Building

The foundations of our building can be said to have been laid in the villages of North Staffordshire at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

It was here, in 1807, that, out of John Wesley’s recently-formed Methodist Church and following a stirring among some of its members, the Primitive Methodist Church was set up.

This branch, as the name suggests, grew out of a desire to embrace the original, simple and also fervent faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, based on his word, the Bible, regular prayer and praise in all times and seasons of human experience and the bringing of the Gospel to others, that they too may find life in Jesus.

In the 1840s, from this community, a number of families migrated to Fleetwood, at least some, it seems, by way of a period spent fishing in the Southport area (until they had been forced to move on with the channels becoming badly silted).

Here, in their new home, they began to hold “camp” (open-air) meetings on the Mount, in those days known as Tup Hill.

A Primitive Methodist Society for the town was formed in 1851, possibly holding services, in those days, in a barn.

The fellowship developed and grew and a small chapel, known as “The Fishermen’s Church”, was built, in 1855, in the main street, with a Sunday school extension added later.

They also became too small and were enlarged so that the chapel capacity was increased to 500. By the late 1890s and with Sunday school attendance somewhere between 350 and 400, plans were in place for a new Sunday school building.

With much evidence of an unshakeable trust in God through all the ups and downs of the next decade, land was purchased and what was to become the first stage of the building in which we now find ourselves was opened in April 1908 – and, significantly, we feel, just across the road from those early meetings on Tup Hill (aka the Mount).

Within three or four years the church had left its previous location and also moved to the Mount. The Memorial Hall (commemorating those from the church killed in the World Wars and, also, the life of another member, Percy Mather, who served for many years with the China Inland Mission) was added in 1931 and has now been impressively refurbished, while a Community Hall was added in 1974. When sadly, the church closed as part of the Methodist Connexion in 2013, we, at
Emmanuel, were asked if we wished to take it on, which, after prayer, we were delighted to do, seeing in the whole site the possibility of a massive potential in God’s plans and schemes, completing purchase in 2016.

We sense, in these aging bricks and intricate carved work, a living, breathing presence in the town. Always there is the possibility (probability?) of further changes because of the “living stones” (that’s the way Christians are described in the Bible!) who use it and who are alive to the challenges of communicating the timeless language of God’s love through Jesus in forms and expressions which are understood by whatever generation we find ourselves in, each with its complexity of needs, its fears, its brokenness and hurt.

We are both thrilled and amazed to think of ourselves as spiritual and geographical descendants of those who first brought the Gospel of this unspeakable love to
Fleetwood when it was itself in its infancy (remarkable the timing of those silted channels elsewhere, which compelled these pioneers to move on!) – and of those who faithfully followed them.

Our hope and anticipation, then, with the same faith and trust in all situations, is to rediscover and redig those old wells* which we’ve inherited from our “Primitive”
ancestors and also to dig new wells, as the need is for our community, society and world to taste the refreshing water of God’s blessing which brings hope, healing and eternal life in Jesus.

*(Please refer to Genesis 26:17-22 and vv32-33)

John McLellan 2020