Howdon’s little chapel soon became too small for its congregation

The old Rosehill Wesleyan Sunday School in Wallsend.
The old Rosehill Wesleyan Sunday School in Wallsend.

This week’s old photograph shows Rosehill Wesleyan Sunday School in Howdon in years gone by.

In about 1836, some Wesleyan services began being held in a house behind the Dun Cow Inn, and in 1840, it was replaced by a stone building able to hold 100 people.

It was built near the square of the Keelman’s Row cottages and became known as the little chapel.

Over the years, true to that name, the chapel ended up becoming too small for the congregation that worshipped there.

Robert Davidson, a Methodist Free Church man, and some friends took over the old Corving House at Low Pit in 1873 and began a Sunday school and church.

It was proposed to secure a new site and building, and land was obtained in Willington Terrace. The new church was opened on November 6, 1879.

Robert Davidson Jnr was born on September 3, 1848 at Prospect Place in Howdon, now known as Ravensworth Street, and he carried on the business established by his father, opening a branch in Willington Terrace in 1870.

He held down various jobs at the same time, including that of postmaster, but most important to him was his temperance movement and his church.

He married Margaret Murray, of Wallsend, on September 1, 1872, and she took on her full share of the work for the church and temperance movement until her death on October 15, 1915.

Davidson was inseparably bound up with the history of this church and for over 40 years devoted much of his time and money to it. He died on September 22, 1917.

If you have any further information about Howdon’s Wesleyan chapels, ask for Discover at North Shields Customer First Centre on 0191 643 5270 or email