Salem Methodist church in Cheslyn Hay is a modest early Victorian
church sitting proudly in the centre of the small West Midlands town.
Methodism in Cheslyn Hayowes its origin to the opening of neighbouring
coal-mines which drew to the village of Wyrley Bank (now Cheslyn Hay)
‘respectable inhabitants’ who in about 1788 built a chapel and Sunday
school, later belonging to the Methodist New Connexion. The chapel was
rebuilt on the old site in 1819 and in 1851 seated 250. This chapel, now
called Salem, was rebuilt in the High Street in 1855 and enlarged in 1898;
in 1940 it seated 460. A library of about 2,000 volumes was opened in
connexion with this chapel in February 1924.
A small brick building in Station Street with an almost illegible inscription
above the door is probably the chapel and Sunday school dating from
1819. It is now used as part of a carpenter’s shop. Salem Chapel is a large
building with an imposing front of 1898, having two semicircular turrets and
a scrolled parapet. The body of the building and the cast-iron railings date
from 1855. The Sunday school, built in 1889, stands immediately to the
In 1851 there was a smaller Methodist New Connexion preaching place
near Wedges Mills, closely connected with the Wyrley Bank chapel, James
Lawson being secretary to the trustees of both. This had been converted
into a chapel in 1845, and seated 90 people, but by 1851 the congregation
was small. It had ceased to exist by 1872.
When I was asked to visit the church the enquiry came from an unusual
source, Baxi boilers. They had been contacted via a church member and a
member of the boys brigade who had connections with an associate
heating company owned by Baxis parent group (Potterton/Baxi)
The outcome was that Baxi gifted the church 2 wall mounted
condensing boilers along with associated boiler plant and we were
asked to design a suitable system using the gifted boilers.
We naturally obliged and supplied a heavily discounted scheme using
our Minster triple panelled radiators and Churchwarden control system.
One very interesting “foot note” was that whilst on site our engineers
discovered a pair of shoes under the floor dating back to 1851 and it is
believed that this was a local custom to bestow good luck on the