Hotts, Ireshopeburn, Bishop Auckland, DL13 1HD
In March 2018 the Museum received the devastating news that High House Chapel would close and the Museum would need to seek new premises. After a year of stress and uncertainty " The Trustees of the Weardale Museum agreed in principle to explore the possibility of purchasing High House Chapel from The Methodist Church”.
This is a huge decision for the Museum but it provides the opportunity to expand physically and to recruit many new followers who are keen to help to preserve the Historic Chapel.
The decision to close the Chapel for worship was taken very reluctantly by the Fellowship who do not have the capacity or the resources to carry out necessary repairs and renovations to their building. Appeals during the last twelve months to Methodist Headquarters to come up with a scheme to save the oldest Methodist Chapel in continuous use were unsuccessful.
The project involves the purchase of the Chapel property, repair and renovation and adaptions to make the building more accessible and suitable as a venue for events and displays at a cost of about £400,000.
The Museum will continue in its present building but will make more use of the chapel and its bigger spaces to tell an expanded heritage story, while offering the present fellowship the invitation to worship there again once the work is completed.
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The Weardale Museum Trustees wish to thank all of our members and Friends for their generous donations which have enabled us to raise the purchase price for High House Chapel.
This is the start of our journey to carry out the repairs and renovations which will be necessary to acheive our aim to turn the building into a heritage centre which celebrates the heritage of this historic building and creates a space for a wide range of activities and events. Your continued support is much appreciated.
The Trustees will soon be entering into discussions with the Methodist Church to transfer the property after which we will be able to seek funding from grant aiding bodies such s HLF and The Arts Council.
Competition for grants is very competitive at the moment but we are encouraged by the success of Nenthead Arts and Visitors Centre in transforming their old Chapel.
Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre 2019