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Museum of Methodism History

Wesley's Chapel

Wesley's Chapel was built in 1778 by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The Chapel was his London base and replaced his previous London Chapel, The Foundery which stood about 200 yards away. It was designed by the architect George Dance the Younger, who was then the surveyor to the City of London. Wesley described his Chapel as 'perfectly neat but not fine'. It is one of London's undiscovered architectural jewels. It is a fine example of Georgian architecture and a Grade I listed building. It was the first Methodist Church to be built specifically for the celebration of Holy communion as well as for preaching services.

In 1891 the Chapel was transformed to commemorate the centenary of Wesley’s death. Marble pillars were donated from Methodist Churches around the world to replace the original pillars made from wooden ships’ masts donated by George III. New pews were also added and the stained glass was installed around this period.

In 1972 the Chapel was found to be structurally unsafe and had to be closed. Between 1972 and 1978 nearly £1 million was raised to save the Chapel from demolition and restore it to its former glory. On 1st November 1978, exactly 200 years after Wesley opened the Chapel, the restored building was re-opened in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.

In 1989 Wesley’s Chapel and the Leysian Mission joined together and the Leysian Centre which houses our administration centre was opened in 1992. Today the Chapel is a thriving place serving a congregation of hundreds, the local community as well as the thousands of pilgrims and visitors that come each year to see the ‘Mother Church of World Methodism.’

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49 City Road, London EC1Y 1AU
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