'Bleak future' for city church on endangered buildings list

An "irreplaceable" city church faces a bleak future unless urgent action is taken to improve its condition, the Victorian Society has said.

The famous dome at Darlington Street Methodist Church in Wolverhampton
The famous dome at Darlington Street Methodist Church in Wolverhampton

The Darlington Street Methodist Church in Wolverhampton is one of the country's most endangered buildings, according to the society, which monitors the state of treasured buildings from the Victorian era.

They say the condition of the church is "poor and deteriorating", with leaking roofs, signs of dry rot and structural cracking all evident.

The Grade II* listed church, which opened in 1901, held its last service in September 2019. It has remained vacant ever since despite talks over potential redevelopment.

The Victorian Society's listing describes the Baroque-style church as a "significant local landmark with its copper dome and twin west towers".

The final service at Darlington Street Methodist Church, Wolverhampton, took place in 2019

It adds: "The interior has vaulted ceilings with richly ornamented plasterwork, as well as original gallery seating. It also features an organ by Nicholson & Co of Worcester.

"Worship ended in 2019 followed by other functions in the large basement and adjacent halls and schoolrooms, leaving the building vacant.

"Security is a serious concern – there was a fire in the halls in 2014. The condition is poor and deteriorating with leaking roofs, failing rainwater goods, signs of dry rot and in places structural cracking.

"This irreplaceable building faces a bleak future as efforts to find a purchaser have failed."

Darlington Street Methodist Church. Picture dated March 1961

Following the church's closure, property consultants Bruton Knowles were appointed to find a joint venture partner to redevelop the 15,000 sq ft site, with the firm suggesting the building would be suitable for retail, dining and leisure.

The church has also been used by the Asian Christian Fellowship, while the Good Shepherd soup kitchen was based there until the service moved to a new site on Waterloo Road last year.

In 2014 more than 50 firefighters were required to tackle a huge blaze at the site, which caused smoke damage to the main church hall and surrounding offices.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News